What Will You Do with 5 Billion US Dollars?
Bill Gates has been paying close attention to the state of public school education in the United States and other countries. Gates' recent efforts center on identifying and developing effective teaching. Quite frankly, his efforts have been more focused on the "identifying" part at the moment. Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent in finding and testing ways to evaluate teaching. And the 5 billion number is apparently for installing cameras in classrooms.
|Photo downloaded from Holmes Education Post's "Is it time to place cameras in the classroom?"|
As for the Gates Foundation, this idea has been brewing for quite some time. Thomas Kane, a professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the director of the MET project, said in a 2011 interview with Education Next that there are a lot of advantages to having cameras in classrooms. He said:
One is it gives you a common piece of evidence to discuss with an instructional coach or supervisor. Second, it will prove to be economically much more viable because you’re not paying observers to drive around to various schools to do observations. If a teacher doesn’t think that their principal is giving them a fair evaluation because of some vendetta, they can have an external expert with no personal ax to grind watch and give feedback.
The state Senate rejected a bill Wednesday to install cameras in classrooms to evaluate teachers. Senate File 114 failed 23-6 Wednesday, with one senator excused, after its first hearing on the floor.
"Monitoring and Observation of Teacher. . . All monitoring or observation of the work performance of a teacher shall be conducted openly and with full knowledge of the teacher. The use of eavesdropping, public address, audio systems, and similar surveillance devices shall be strictly prohibited. No mechanical or electronic device shall be installed in any classroom or brought in on a temporary basis which would allow a person to be able to listen or record the procedures in any class."If the objective of recording lectures is to share effective teaching practices, there is already an organization in the US that does this. It is called the "TeachingChannel":
Teaching Channel is a video showcase—on the Internet and TV—of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America's schools. We have a rapidly growing community of registered members who trade ideas and share inspiration from each other...
...Our videos are produced by a unique team of professionals—a collaborative effort between video production experts, education advisors, and the classroom teachers themselves. We should point out that Teaching Channel does not determine or influence the content taught in our videos.
Our video library offers educators a wide range of subjects for grades K-12. The videos also include information on alignment with Common Core State Standards and ancillary material for teachers to use in their own classrooms.
Teaching Channel Presents, a weekly one-hour program featuring Tch videos, airs on PBS stations in nearly 75 million homes across the United States.If the objective of recording lectures is to evaluate teachers, this is an entirely different action. First, one must distinguish between two approaches that at first, may look compatible, but are in fact may be working against each other.
A non-profit organization, Teaching Channel launched publicly in June 2011.