There was once a rumor going around that Bill Gates stole most of his ideas for the original Windows. I never thought that was true. I didn’t want to believe it. But now he’s going around campaigning for Common Core, and I’m starting to think maybe he is an incompetent moron. It does amaze me how people who are perfectly capable in business can have such glaring lapses of basic critical thinking in other areas.
So what exactly did Bill Gates say? He was defending Common Core as the harbinger of an educational “free market”:
Somebody in states will decide this thing. Nobody is suggesting that the federal government will, even in this area, which is not curriculum, dictate these things. States can opt in. They can opt out. As they do that, they should look at this status quo, which is poor. They should look and find something that’s high achievement, that’s got quality. And if they can find something that’s that, if they have two they’re comparing, they ought to probably pick something in common, because to some degree, [ramble much?] this is an area where if you do have commonality it’s like an electrical plug you get more free market competition.
Scale is good for free market competition. Individual state regulatory capture is not good for competition. And so this thing, in terms of driving innovation, you’d think that sort of pro-capitalistic market-driven people would be in favor of it, but, you know, somehow, it’s gotten to be controversial. And, you know, states will decide. Whatever they want to decide is fine. But, at the end of the day, it does affect the quality of your teaching, does affect when your kids go to take what are national-level tests, whether they are going to do well or not do well.
What the heck? Yes, scale is good for free market competition, if what you mean by scale is that each individual is allowed to have a say in what kind of education is available. But that is the opposite of what Common Core standards are aiming at. Common Core would mean that, rather than states having a monopoly on educational standards, that monopoly would become even more consolidated at the federal level. How in the universe is that a more “free market” situation?
His rambling is mind-numbingly naïve. And also hard to follow. It’s amazing how obtuse a person’s language can get when he is hiding from the obvious. How in the universe can you have national standards for government schools without the federal government being involved? Yes, states can opt in or out, but if Common Core is accepted at the national level and starts to dictate testing and college admission, do you really think any state will opt out of it? That’s stupid.
And it’s the opposite of a free market. That’s coercion and the leverage of scale. Bill Gates knows all about it, I’m sure. Otherwise, how do you explain the large market share of a dud like Windows 8? Honestly, I am tired of experts telling me from some ivory tower what is and isn’t good for me and my family.
If Bill Gates wants to sink 76 million dollars into a so-called national educational program, though the national government has no say in it and it “isn’t a curriculum,” he can do that all he wants. He certainly has the benjamins to burn. But I prefer real free market education—it’s called home school.