After spending “billions” to develop small enrollment high schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has abandoned that idea. The Gates organization found out that better teachers, not class size, are the key to better student learning.
Here in Kentucky the dubious “small school” fad was pushed by members of the “KERA Amen Chorus” (as the Paducah Sun dubbed them a number of years ago) even though there have been doubts about this education fad for some time.
Of course, Kentuckians have heard a bunch of claims from the KERA Amen Chorus ever since 1990. Time and again Chorus members have said “research shows” this or that expensive education fad works great. Far too often, those rosy claims have proved either overblown or downright totally incorrect. The reason is that most education research isn’t very well done and cannot prove anything with reasonable accuracy.
Still, we hear the same groups pushing more and more expensive fads at a time when we need to home in on efficiency and effectiveness. Per the Gates crowd, that means getting really well prepared teachers in front of our kids, something the Bluegrass Institute agrees is badly needed, but in too many cases sorely lacking.
Maybe if the KERA Amen Chorus now gets behind truly effective upgrades for our teaching staff, our kids might see some real benefits.