February 11, 2009

Gates: Bold vision for stimulus & education reform

Posted: 08:09 AM ET

by Bill and Melinda Gates

Like many Americans, we are impressed with the goals outlined in the Obama administration's economic stimulus package, goals that would promote short-term economic recovery but also jump-start needed reforms in key areas like public education, which in turn will accelerate long-term economic growth.

We need an economic stimulus that also stimulates American education.

After decades of leading the world in high school and college graduation rates, the United States is now falling behind. Our achievement levels are roughly flat over the past three decades while nations around the world are surging ahead. We are certain to emerge from the current economic crisis eventually, but it is just as clear that we will not retain our global economic leadership unless we regain our edge in education.

(Read more of the Gates' commentary HERE)

Filed under: Bill Gates

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Terry, TX   February 11th, 2009 8:41 am ET

Mr. and Mrs. Gates.... I read your article...Education Portion of the Job Stimulus....Did we have 100% Unemployment in the Education Field...because I haven't seen the headlines.
This Pork, Earmark Stupid package which is a give away ....these states don't have to to pay it back like the banks. We are more than doubling the budget for the 2009 Education Budget.... get "freakin' serious. Most of the education and I know will go to the most unemployed states....California, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Florida. So the rest of us who lived in balanced states are screwed. Can you waste and corruption?
This whole thing needs to be redone.

Michael C. McHugh   February 11th, 2009 11:02 am ET

I once had an idea that someone should set up a public-private foundation to "adopt" the poorest schools in the country and at least try to get them on their feet. It would not be cheap. Perhaps Bill Gates has some ideas on how that could be done.

Joe G. (From Illinois)   February 11th, 2009 1:26 pm ET

At some point someone will figure it out.. Sure he employs tens of thousands.. But if he told you to crawl out the side window of a speeding buss and jump out while running alongside the edge of a cliff, soon or later someone will figure out.

sean brizendine   February 11th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

thats sound advice.
"sean in santa rosa"

Lauro Silva-Brazil   February 11th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

Absolutely right!  I´m a retired electrical engineer and among other things I also kill time teaching math,  physics, portuguese and help others learn a little of some other languages. The students, I have, are not only children, but also youngsters aiming at going to college. lawyers, sales assistants,etc. Surprisingly, there is a common characteristic among them, what means, a lack of conditions preventing them from learning  anything, if a deductive reasoning is required. Quite often, I go to Athens, Greece, where I notice the existence of the same problem. However, theré is another common characteristic among them. They are skilled operators of computers and phone cells.  but that is not enough for the formation of a good professional. So, education reform is absolutely necessary but how to stimulate, or rather, recover the wish of learning other subjects? Not to mention that many and many schools and teachers across the world leave much to the imagination.

Alex   February 11th, 2009 4:03 pm ET

Hi –

I completey agree with Lauro, a lot of kids are good with computers (but that's subjective) and the cell phone. They are the generation that is the receipient of the google ERA. I'm a programmer, google for me is looking for certain CS-related topics but I definitely DO NOT interpret this information as knowldge rather than just a factoid. Research as to the "why's" of things (which is a derivative of intrigue, yearning for in-depth understanding, etc) builds a person's intellect. Yes, they are good with computers but do they really know the amount of effort it takes to draw one single pixel on that screen or how a cell phone's that's digital can call an analog phone? I think because of technology and quick factoids, their ability to see through obvious is stunted. Porting this over to general educational courses:

Social Studies = memorizing facts, forgetting later
Math = run the #'s, always unsure if result makes sense
Science = memorize basic equations but not visualize the system
Engilsh = read cliff notes answering obvious questions, not building on human empathy and context

I think, in some ways, we're de-evolving due to money and technology – one other example is actors/actresses back in the 30's-50's were required to NOT only act but also sing and dance. Those were true performers unlike today – we have broadway singers/dancers, singers only, actors only, or actors becoming singers and singers becoming actors. We lost that entertaining trifecta for a "pretty smile and good looks".


Engineers   February 11th, 2009 9:13 pm ET

The Engineers of this plane and other (planes) should really receive acknowledgment. Going back decades these Engineers designed that plane to be in one piece and not sink immediately.

Capt I assume you concur?

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