Actors do it. Professional athletes do it. Now Bill Gates wants the country to spend $5 billion to overhaul the evaluation system for every teacher in every classroom in every district, including filming them in action.
The new system would include videotaped lessons, classroom observations by trained observers, student satisfaction surveys, and value-added calculations based on test scores.
Among all his foundation’s educational initiatives for things like smaller schools and new technology, Gates has increasingly zeroed in on effective teaching as the key lever to improving education, as he discusses in an exclusive interview in Fast Company this month.
But how do you know effective teaching when you see it? Judging teachers by their students’ test scores alone is crude and incomplete. In a talk he gave for a TED special on PBS to be aired May 7 (filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 4), Gates discussed the plan to measure teachers, its estimated $5 billion price tag, and the pilot program he funded–the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET)–conducted with 3,000 teachers in seven districts. They reported three years of findings in January on a teaching evaluation system that combines test scores, student evaluations, and classroom assessments, where teachers are graded by impartial observers.