Here. Ravitch is awesome. It's good that there's a voice out there in the mainstream press coming from someone who cares about the right things.
Bill Gates is an arrogant prick. The idea that he deserves to have a massive role in shaping the basic structure of education in this country, solely because he happens to have shit loads of money, is preposterous. How different is this from a powerful monarch, ruling by divine right, demanding to have a say in the way that education is structured?
It's as if he's saying: "Hey, I've got a ton of money. Listen to me and do what I say!" And, unsurprisingly, his "recommendations" are firmly in step with the right-wing views that have been coming from the business community for decades: privatize, bust unions, blame teachers, etc. etc.
People spend a lot of time learning to become teachers, studying pedagogy, working with students face-to-face. The practical know-how that teachers acquire through doing, rather than sitting in a thrown above the fray, is a billion times more valuable than the neoliberal dictates of a powerful businessman who has taken it upon himself to "fix" something that big business had a hand in destroying. The new orthodoxy is that the "brilliant" "free"-market ideas, which brought us global recession and social misery, are the magic answer to education.
Let's tax the rich and bring education under the democratic control of teachers and parents. We can decide ourselves how to best structure our own education system- we don't need unqualified dictates coming from on high. No rich wankers required, thank you.