Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gates: Spending cuts don't have to harm learning

Kudos to Bill Gates:

Even in the midst of large spending cuts, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said Monday that schools can improve the performance of students if they put more emphasis on rewarding excellent teaching and less emphasis on paying teachers based on seniority and graduate degrees.

Gates spoke to the nation's governors mindful of the severe financial woes that many of them face as they try to bridge deficits totaling about $125 billion in the coming fiscal year. He said there are some clear do's and don'ts. Among the do's: Lift caps on class sizes and get more students in front of the very best teachers. Those teachers would get paid more with the savings generated from having fewer personnel overall.

"There are people in the field who think class size is the only thing," Gates said in an interview with The Associated Press prior to his speech. "But in fact, the dominant factor is having a great teacher in front of the classroom."

Among his recommendations on what not to do, Gates told governors that they should not use furloughs to reduce costs because it's only a temporary fix that leaves compensation demands intact for future years. Nor should they put more dollars into compensating teachers based on the advanced degrees they've obtained and their years of service as a teacher. He said the ideal scenario would be to classify teachers and to compensate them based on how well their students learned.


Gates: Spending cuts don't have to harm learning


By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Kevin Freking, Associated Press – Mon Feb 28, 5:59 pm ET

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