Behind the Headlines: Gateses Give $290 Million for Education

By 11/20/2009

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On Top of the News
Gateses Give $290 Million for Education
11/20/09 | The New York Times

Behind the Headline
Dollars and Sense
Winter 2005 | Education Next

The Gates Foundation announced yesterday that it would be spending over $300 million to support efforts to study what makes teachers effective and to transform how teachers are evaluated. In 2005, Ed Next published an article by Tom Dee and Benjamin Keys that described Tennessee’s Career Ladder, an early effort to overhaul teacher evaluations and to link the results to promotions and pay.

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  • Jill Bass says:

    Doesn’t democracy require the participation of an informed citizenry? As John Adams said, “liberty cannot be preserved” without civic education, and that is all Action Civics aims to provide – civic education that will develop the skills, knowledge and dispositions for young people to engage and lead their communities. Remind me why that is a bad thing.

    The ideals of liberty and equality as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the glue that binds us as Americans. But currently, believe it or not, our young people are neither being taught, nor are they buying into these foundational values. One reason for that is that our current emphasis on standardized testing too often elevates only the “core subject areas,” to the exclusion of others such as civic education. . Another issue is that even when civics is taught, the dry, text book recitation of historical documents does little to inspire young people. In contrast, Action Civics makes the philosophies of our founding fathers and the systems of government they designed relevant to young people’s lives. It links philosophy and principle to the issues facing young people and their communities – and that is something that gets young people fired up. It gives students voice and agency, empowering them to be participatory stakeholders instead of passive recipients of policy.

    As John Dewey said, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” Action Civics aims to serve this purpose by giving students an opportunity not just to talk about democracy, but to live it .

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