3/2 Editorial: An open letter to U.S. governors


Bill Gates is one stand-up guy.

He recently gave a speech regarding education in America on C-SPAN, and he just killed it, but you were there — weren’t you, governors?

He wants to give money to teachers to draw talent and incentivize taking on more responsibilities.

You want teachers reviewing videos of their work, Bill? You wanna study game footage, Bill?!

We are inventing the word Bill-iant.

The guy gets dirty stinkin’ rich, and instead of drinking all day and riding his hover-board (you know he has one) he’s in the “National Governor’s Association Winter Meeting,” dropping knowledge on the people that matter — after all, education funding comes from state-level government.

He wants to bring back the three R’s: reading, writing, and a school year that is not obscenely short by international standards.

OK, he likes arithmetic, too. Doing away with college remedial math classes, he says, will improve the six-year graduation rate. Why? Because students don’t learn anything patently new in those classes; they stagnate, and it sets the tone for their entire college performance.

His disheveled hair and casual posture says, “No, I never finished college, but I could buy you all out.”

If governors took a few cues from this bespectacled sage, U.S. students might begin to close the gap with foreign competition.

Nothing is going to help students more than good teachers, and Gates stressed this fact.

Cutting teachers’ salaries and taking away their collective bargaining rights isn’t going to lure any talent. As it is, educators barely have incentive to pursue such a field.

If we strangulate education by rescinding collective bargaining, will new teachers be any more prone to adopt a muted profession? Of course not.

It’s no secret talent goes where the money is. Even if there are a few die-hard idealist who stick with teaching, there’s no guarantee they are really the best for the job.

Give teachers money and access to tools that let them evaluate their own professional efforts. Retain their collective bargaining rights, lest they lose the only thing that separates them from the private sector: benefits.

Most of all, erase the notion thacutting teachers’ salaries is the easiest way to balance the budget. It may be quick, but slashing salaries will perpetuate the country’s educational decline.