Friday, April 14, 2006

Oprah & Gates recognize there is a problem in public schools

Bill & Melinda Gates appeared on the Oprah Windfrey show this week to talk about the problems with the public school system. This was a two part series. In the first part Oprah showed how broken are the public schools. In the second part Bill Gates presented some solutions.

Like the John Stossel 20/20 report Stupid in America, I think Oprah's focus will help more people become aware just how serious are the problems with public schools.

John Stossel pushed a solution of vouchers. Bill Gates wants to work within the public school system. Bill Gates wants smaller schools so it is harder for the students don't fall through the cracks. Bill Gates is also pushing more technology in the public schools.

Someone once said "Stupid is doing the same thing you have been doing, but expecting different results."

For decades now we've had dozens of reforms in public schools. Things keep getting worse. I think John Stossel's approach would improve education in America. I am afraid that Bill Gates' approach would create lots of excitment and noise, but wouldn't fundamental change anything.

I think Spunky's program Stay Home has a much better chance of success. But then I'm biased.

Lots of blogs are talking about the two episodes. Blogger Search finds over 40. The Third Path has a nice summary. Linda, The Tutor has some thoughts. Kim at Our Life makes a point similar to mine, that part of the fundamental problem is public schools are run by the government. Christine at The Thinking Mother write about how there are many parents who have recognized for a long time that public schools are broken.


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3 comments:

Spunky said...

Another member in the Stay Home Society. I draft you as president of the organization. Thankfully there are no meetings, no bilaws, and no coersive dues. Just wake up and enjoy life with your children.

Redbeard said...

John Stossel's Stupid In America would get a failing grade were he to submit it to a high school journalism teacher, for its unsupported claims.

There are problems within the public schools, and some parents are justified in homeschooling their kids. But we do need a public education system, because not every parent would make as good a teacher as the professionals. Unfortunately, Stossel's "identification" of problems is too vague to be worth anyone's consideration.

Henry Cate said...

"John Stossel's Stupid In America would get a failing grade were he to submit it to a high school journalism teacher, for its unsupported claims."

You are making a claim that John Stossel's report is flawed. Can you support your claim with facts?

I watched the whole report, a full hour. John Stossel had many specific problems with the public school system. He details the problem public schools have in firing bad teachers. He has videos of how badly behaved students are in public schools. He reports the results of international tests which show that students in America are performing very poorly compared to students from other nations.

The Daily Howler report you linked to calls John Stossel a lot of names. But all the Daily Howler really does is show that the problems with public schools is a complex problem and John Stossel's one hour report only touched the surface.