Bill Gates has issued a letter
about his foundation’s work and it tosses some doubt on the idea that
small schools have inherent advantages over large ones. Here is what
Gates has to say:

“Nine years ago, the foundation decided to invest in helping to create
better high schools, and we have made over $2 billion in grants. The
goal was to give schools extra money for a period of time to make
changes in the way they were organized (including reducing their size),
in how the teachers worked, and in the curriculum. The hope was that
after a few years they would operate at the same cost per student as
before, but they would have become much more effective. Many of the
small schools that we invested in did not improve students’ achievement
in any significant way. These tended to be the schools that did not
take radical steps to change the culture, such as allowing the
principal to pick the team of teachers or change the curriculum. We had
less success trying to change an existing school than helping to create
a new school.”

What worked? “One of the key things these schools have done is help
their teachers be more effective in the classroom. It is amazing how
big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one.
Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student
achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same
school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it
is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than
to a great school.”

"> Gates: Investment in Small Schools Didn't Show Results - Daily Yonder

Gates: Investment in Small Schools Didn’t Show Results

One of the benefits of rural education has been that the schools and the school districts have been small. The idea was that small schools were better for kids. It was an idea picked up and promoted by the Gates Foundation. Now Bill Gates has issued a letter about his foundation's work and it tosses some doubt on the idea that small schools have inherent advantages over large ones. Here is what Gates has to say:

"Nine years ago, the foundation decided to invest in helping to create better high schools, and we have made over $2 billion in grants. The goal was to give schools extra money for a period of time to make changes in the way they were organized (including reducing their size), in how the teachers worked, and in the curriculum. The hope was that after a few years they would operate at the same cost per student as before, but they would have become much more effective. Many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve students’ achievement in any significant way. These tended to be the schools that did not take radical steps to change the culture, such as allowing the principal to pick the team of teachers or change the curriculum. We had less success trying to change an existing school than helping to create a new school."

What worked? "One of the key things these schools have done is help their teachers be more effective in the classroom. It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one. Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school."

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One of the benefits of rural education has been that the schools and the school districts have been small. The idea was that small schools were better for kids. It was an idea picked up and promoted by the Gates Foundation. Now Bill Gates has issued a letter about his foundation’s work and it tosses some doubt on the idea that small schools have inherent advantages over large ones. Here is what Gates has to say:

“Nine years ago, the foundation decided to invest in helping to create better high schools, and we have made over $2 billion in grants. The goal was to give schools extra money for a period of time to make changes in the way they were organized (including reducing their size), in how the teachers worked, and in the curriculum. The hope was that after a few years they would operate at the same cost per student as before, but they would have become much more effective. Many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve students’ achievement in any significant way. These tended to be the schools that did not take radical steps to change the culture, such as allowing the principal to pick the team of teachers or change the curriculum. We had less success trying to change an existing school than helping to create a new school.”

What worked? “One of the key things these schools have done is help their teachers be more effective in the classroom. It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one. Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”

 

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