Focus: Bill Gates on Investing in Teachers

One of the most contentious debates in education today revolves around how best to evaluate teacher performance. A vast majority of the education heroes we talk with here at Daily Edventures mention these issues as significant obstacles to positive changes in education. Should teachers be assessed based on how their students perform on standardized tests? Should students even be subjected to these tests, when we know they take student’s attention away from valuable learning time and don’t even measure what we know to be critical skills for the 21st century? Should teachers’ value be measured based on the observation of school leaders? Can cash-strapped schools even afford to tackle this issue? What professional development should we develop for teachers and school leaders? How to help students reach their full potential? How to recognize and promote effective teaching? While there is no easy answer to any of these questions, some solutions are beginning to emerge.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced the findings of its Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project. The MET study confirmed that there are, in fact, effective ways to measure teacher performance, provide helpful feedback and drive more effective professional development. The answer seems to lie in the use of multiple tools, and the relatively low cost of implementing these measures can lead to big dividends in the classroom.

Bill Gates talked to Fareed Zakaria at CNN about the issue last week (the interview will air in full today), offering up a compelling argument for governments and school leaders to rethink and reinvest in teacher evaluation. Below is a link where you can read Bill’s thoughts and controversial opinion about ways to advance great teaching. What do you think?

I look forward to continuing the debate and discussion on this key topic here at Daily Edventures.


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