This is now the third letter I am publishing on teachersletterstobillgates.com, a website that, by now, you surely must be well aware exists. There have been over 150 heartfelt and emotional posts published in the nine or so months since its inception, yet you have chosen, thus far, to ignore them all.
And that is the reason for my third letter to you today. I don’t know how I can tolerate your ignorance – your apathy – for much longer. Especially when I read “news” that quotes you as saying, “Maybe we can’t answer every tweet or post, but the authoritative voice on this is teachers.” Do you REALLY believe this, Bill? I doubt it.
Because if you had, you certainly would have at least taken a moment to address its existence. But you can’t. Why? Because you’re too busy touting your claims of all-knowing excellence to the world and selling your products to fix the public education system in America.
I try to see the good in others; I TRY to believe that you really do think you are doing what is right for America’s public schools. Yet I can’t help but ask myself – after all this time – HOW COULD YOU? How could you think what you are doing is RIGHT? How could you really believe that you – a non-educator with a non-education degree and non-education experience – have all the “answers” to the inequality issues within American schools?
Let me help; you DON’T. The bottom line is, you are making a fortune from these reforms, and people are catching on, but not soon enough. Shame on you.
The reality is, Bill (sorry, but I no longer have enough respect to call you “Mister”), you are sacrificing our next generation for your own personal gain. And why do you even need it? Don’t you have enough?
You want to fix the public schools in America? Talk to Diane Ravitch. If anyone has the answers, she does. And I’m often afraid she’s killing herself trying to spread the word. Talk to people like me, to Katie, to Susan – people who have dedicated their lives to educating children. Yes, we might not have all the answers, but, frankly, we know a hell of a lot more than you do.
I’m tired, Bill. I’m tired of reading the BS that you sell to the media. I’m tired of the fact that, because of this all, I have moved myself and my three little boys to Dubai to escape what’s happening at home. It’s not so easy here, and I am homesick. But their lives, and especially their educations, far surpass what I know what they could get from the Boston Public Schools at this point, and so, for them, I persist in my struggle as angry as it makes me.
It’s time you acknowledge your many, many mistakes in education. You want to fix it? You certainly have more than enough money to do so, but for the love of God, let the TEACHERS direct you in how best to do that (like you pretend so very well that you have been).
And remember – we, the teachers – are involved in education because we have chosen to dedicate our lives to teaching children, a job which has little to no extrinsic rewards.
Why are you in it? Can I ask when you will decide to face the fire? It’s only a matter of time before it turns and burns you in the face, so you might as well do the right – the humane – thing, once and for all, before you ruin this country for good.
Jill O’Malley Conroy
P.S. In the future, can you please get the quotes you use to support your efforts directly from the teachers who (supposedly) stated them, and not from your “staffers”? Because, frankly, I don’t believe these people (teachers) exist. Thanks.
These quotes appeared in Bill Gates Comes to the Defense of the Common Core, which appeared on Huff Post Politics on 3/14/14.
“One teacher told a foundation staffer, Gates said, that under the current system, even top-performing kids aren’t prepared for college.”
“Everybody in my school is complaining about the lack of curriculum,” another teacher told a foundation staffer, according to Gates. “Now we have to jump all over the place and find extra materials to make things deeper and richer.”