Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.
Perhaps my favorite bad reformy argument — one favored by Tom Moran, among others — goes something like this:
We should listen to billionaires when they opine about education because:
1) Well, they’re billionaires, so they must know what they’re talking about.
2) They don’t have a direct stake in the outcome, so you can trust them.
I often harp on the absurdity of Point #2: even though a plutocrat may not have a direct stake in making public education more like corporate American, their reformy crusades certainly match their ideological predilections. And ancillary benefits like New Markets Tax Credits and union busting are happy little bonuses.
But I don’t often talk about Point #1. Watching the implosion of the Common Core is a great example: Bill Gates poured millions into its development and marketing, but it’s clear he really didn’t understand what he was getting himself into. I don’t think anyone, if they are being honest with themselves (and that includes Bill), would think that Gates is any sort of an expert in any field of education.