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Education Department Backs Down: Gates Speaks Up

We’ve seen over and over again that the current political atmosphere is one of accountability and transparency: this is just as apparent in Education as it is in the debate over the appropriation of earmarked funds. As a result of the push towards a measurable pedagogic system, the Department of Education increased the qualifying questions on its annual survey of colleges. However, by attempting to gather more comprehensive information on student performance at specific colleges, it seems that the Department of Education has ruffled a few feathers.

Because the pointed questions brought on such an enormous backlash, Grover Whitehurst, (director of the Ed. Dept’s Institute of Education Sciences) said that the Department will likely edit the survey, and will probably remove a question that asks whether colleges used specific student-learning assessments and, if they did, to provide access to the results.

As performance-based education is still the exception rather than the rule, it is not surprising that a request for this type of “proprietary” information was received so critically.

In a separate story that places just as much, if not more emphasis on performance-based education, Bill Gates told congress that the education system of the united states still needs to address fundamental problems in k-12 education. In an effort to double the high school graduation rate, Gates is offering incentives for students to study math and science. In a much quoted sound bite, Gates stated: “We cannot sustain an economy based on innovation unless our citizens are educated in math, science, and engineering.” Gates also noted two interesting things:

  • About 30% of 9th graders do not graduate high school on time
  • Microsoft has been unable to fill about 3,000 tech related jobs in the USA due to a shortage of Workers

The adjective “lackluster” that Gates applied to the countries public schools, sounds a great deal like Mike Bloomberg’s Wall Street Journal editorial from December 14th, “Flabby, Inefficient, Outdated”.

Increasingly, performance markers are being sought and implemented in public education; these top news stories testify to that. (http://www.innovationads.com/pr)

-SourcesAssociated Press; “Gates Voices Concerns about U.S. Education”; The New York Times, March 8, 2007

Field, Kelly; “Education Department Backs Away From Plan to Request Large Amount of New Data from Colleges;” The Chronicle of Higher Education; March 8thFind Article, 2007

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Patrick Sutton is an experienced content writer for Innovation Ads and the companies various websites. He holds his M.A. in Spanish Literature and taught high school Spanish and English prior to working at Innovation Ads.



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