Ehm, I love this speech so much, I really wanted to make a short version that would make it more likely for people to see. The 27-min version is just too long for many people, but this video is worth seeing!
Please, share your thoughts.
Bill Gates at the National Conference of State Legislatures
(excerpts from video/transcript: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/speech... )
[0:00] Thank you for that kind welcome. And thank you for offering me this chance to talk with you as you face big decisions for your states and our country.
[1:05] Weve been in an education crisis for decades.
[1:52] Its a reflection of weak systems run by old beliefs and bad habits.
[0:48] But difficult times can spark great reforms—and changes we can make now can help us come out of the downturn stronger than when we entered.
[4:33] The first step is to find out which colleges are doing a good job—and which innovations are making the biggest difference. The institutions and innovations that are getting great outcomes should be expanded. Those that arent should be changed or ended. To do this, we need to measure what matters. We need to know what the students learn, and what jobs they get. We need to know why students of some community colleges do better in the job market than others.
[5:40] Without measurement, there is no pressure for improvement.
[8:21] Statistics are appalling. If all you knew were these numbers, youd be pretty demoralized. But this is a composite picture, and it hides some really exciting successes. In fact, whenever I get discouraged about public education, I go visit some exceptional schools to see how great they can be. I recommend you do the same thing. It will give you a burst of optimism.
Last year, I went to Texas, walked into a classroom, sat down, and thought: Whats going on here? The energy was so high I thought, "I must be in a pep rally or something." The teacher was running around, scanning the classroom, pulling in every kid, putting things up on the board. It was a very exciting class.
I was at a KIPP School. KIPP stands for the Knowledge is Power Program.
[9:55] KIPP Schools do this without spending more than other schools. They are really amazing, but they are not isolated examples.
[10:17] In my experience, when you find a stunning success—you let it grow.
[12:55] When you see the power of the top quartile teachers, you naturally think: We should identify those teachers. We should reward them. We should retain them. We should make sure other teachers learn from them.
[14:40] If you guided your students to great accomplishments last year, thats the best indication that youre going to do it again next year.
[16:55] Imagine having the people who create electrifying video games applying their intelligence to online tools that pull kids in and make algebra fun.
There should be —online videos of every required course, taught by master teachers, and made available free of charge. These would help train teachers. They would help students who need some review or just want to get ahead. Melinda and I have used online videos when weve helped our own kids on some of their school work. They are phenomenal tools that can help every student in the country—if we get the common standards that will encourage people to make them.
[16:32] Student performance should be linked to the teacher and the curriculum and the instructional tools. It should let us know what the best schools and teachers are doing differently and what kind of teacher training promotes student achievement. It should help us improve college completion rates, and determine what curriculum leads to career success.
[22:36] The solution is to work with teachers who are eager to help build measurement systems that are transparent, that make sense, that lead teachers to say: This works. Its fair. It helps me become a better teacher.
[26:09] It doesnt really matter whether you are driven by an ethical commitment to equal opportunity or by a long-term economic vision for the country. Both lines of reasoning lead to the same conclusion. We need to measure progress. We need to hold teachers and schools accountable. We need to give all students a chance to make the most of their lives.