The Next Gates Thing

At last a tool to weed out bad teachers: the edu-drone

Coming to a classroom near you: advanced edu-drone technology.

A sophisticated algorithm has calculated that visionary and change agent Bill Gates produces approximately 3.7 excellent transformational ideas per day. (Note: due to a glitch in the program, neither bad ideas nor ideas that Gates himself is ‘walking away from’ are included in this calculation.) So what’s the next Gates idea that will at last enable our low-achieving educators to guide their hopelessly-stifled charges across the achievement Rubicon? The buzzing in your ear is not merely the result of excessive wine boxing, dear reader. That’s an edu-drone circling overhead and you and your low expectations are in its sights.

It looks like you’re trying to ferret out bad teachers. Would you like help?

One Gates idea after another
Before we hone in with infrared precision on the latest Gates idea, a quick review of every Gates idea since the beginning of time is in order. Once upon a time there was a company called Microsoft that was outstanding and excellent and begat many excellent products including the Zune. With the proceeds that had so enrichethed him, Mr. Bill Gates determined to end many global blights including malaria and bad teaching. The source of malaria was obvious but from whence came the bad teaching? Hundreds of millions of dollars later the answer was clear: the bad teaching came from inside of bad teachers themselves. But sophisticated tools intended to ferret out the bad teaching through the sophisticated use of advanced Value Added Models proved not very sophisticated which resulted in too many teachers being reported as ‘adding value.’ So it was time to go back to the drawing board and also the mother board.

I spent a billion bitcoins and all I got was this lousy report
Well that sucks! You spend about a billion bitcoins and still can’t figure out what is causing this epidemic of terribleness and mediocrity among our nation’s teachers who are now so beyond terrible that they are actually stifling the kids that they are not even teaching. But the thing about being a transformational visionary is that you don’t give up and go home just because you’ve produced the education reform equivalents of the Zune, C#, Vista and the Kin. (What is the Kin???) You get up, you dust yourself off and you produce another great transformational idea.

Rise of the edu-drones
Which brings us at last to the latest greatest Gates idea: cameras.

Actors do it. Professional athletes do it. Now Bill Gates wants the country to spend $5 billion for every teacher in every classroom in every district to be filmed in action so they can be evaluated and, maybe, improve.

There are no details yet on the latest and greatest Gates plan to at last separate the outstanding wheat from the non-excellent chaff. To find out more, you’ll have to tune into TED Talks Education, “an hour of electric, emotional and thought-provoking television,” airing on PBS on May 7. I for one don’t require pesky details to know that this is the latest greatest Gates idea for saving our failed and failing public schools since the last greatest Gates idea for saving our failed and failing public schools. As for that blinking eye over head, you’ll get used to it in no time…

Send comments, tips and on-camera wardrobe advice to


  1. Maybe he can even equip the eye to cattle prod the teacher if he or she goes off script when not sticking to the national standard edubabble. Once zapped three times, the teacher is scooped up and thrown down the edushoot to go work in Walmart selling Chinese crap and a Stepford TFA takes over for two years.

  2. Bill Gates, a guy that made gazillions by repeatedly releasing half-baked, mediocre operating systems, entertains himself by dreaming up schemes he thinks will create “excellence” in field about which he obviously knows nothing. No one ever held up Microsoft as a model of excellence. Billy needs to get a new hobby that doesn’t harm other people’s kids real professionals’ careers. How about golf, Bill?

    1. Well… as much as I hate rich people because I’m not one of them… windows 95, 98 and xp were ALL pretty badass. Windows 7 is quite nice too. Let’s not just attack him based on the “all his shit sucks because he thought of it and I didn’t” routine.

      That said, I too am a teacher (middle school) and scripted teaching is bullshit, and all these measurements don’t take into account the work it takes to gain the students’ trust and interest… without either you can be the best and most intelligent presenter and everything will fall on deaf ears. Leadership is not teaching to a test.

      1. Hey, we don’t “hate rich people because I’m not one of them”; speak for yourself, my man.

        I hate the fact that SOME of these people—who are already wealthy beyond comprehension—actively and directly set up the rules of the game, to hammer the rest of us even more than we’ve been hammered since the mid-seventies when it all started to shift…

        How do they do this? Well, through massive media investments, lobbying of elected officials, funding of movements to privatize our schools and much more in the propaganda/mass brainwashing department.

        They know that most people are seduced by money and identify vicariously with those who have a lot of it. As long as most of us worship the fantasy of “Maybe ME one day, who knows?” then they’ll be no serious discussion of this in a larger socio-economic context and no realistic view will penetrate this apparent, self-inflicted myopia.

        And hey, I don’t even exempt myself from these delusional flights of imagination; I probably just do it less often than most people and I try to balance it with a hard, gritty realism that underscores the very real possibility that I’ll soon be a senior, still fantasizing about “when I get rich”, while they’re getting ready to send me out to pasture.

        We can remain fixated on The Dream—actually more like The Mirage/The Great Delusion/The FuckedUp Fantasy—or we can look at things with reality firmly in front of us and realize that the ONLY life we’re likely to have is the one we’re living right now. Do we want to band together and make all of our lives better? Or do we want to live in “Maybe ME one day!” forever and ever?

  3. If Bill Gates fancies himself an expert on education maybe he should try teaching instead of telling me how to do it. I don’t tell him how to spend his millions on social engineering. Wait, maybe he should ask Bloomberg for some help.

  4. I’ve been watching live feeds of teachers who are wearing little earbuds and directing them as they circulate around the room. Improvement in real time.

    Once I mixed up the class seating chart and fed the teacher all the wrong names.

  5. (cue music from 2001 Space Odyssey and fade)

    Computer generated voice: “I’m sorry Bill, but I cannot do that.”

  6. A classroom anywhere in America.
    Cue sound track from 2001: A Space Odyssey
    Fade music:
    Teacher with computer generated voice : ” I’m sorry Bill, but I cannot do that!”

  7. Isn’t it about time for Bill Gates to use his superhuman problem-solving powers on the healthcare crisis?

  8. when Gates has “edu drones” put into classes is when teachers will deploy
    FIM-92 Stingers to counter!

  9. A can of spray paint, left within the grasp of a student, will disable the all-seeing eye pretty soon.
    Don’t expect the drone to be used to catch students in the act of misbehavior — at my school the security cameras were only used against teachers.

  10. Bill needs to put his $5 billion dollars into eradicating poverty in America, including by supporting jobs with livable wages, instead of investing in nanny cams for teachers.

  11. Windows 7 sucks. It does not have real spell check as it used to with suggestions. It thinks it knows what you want to do and does it without you doing anything. What are you talking about. It has destroyed a lot of data and erased things after a lot of time. It does not have a redo button right there which takes you immediately back to the original. Gates is a powerhungry idiot. We used to call people like him “Educated Idiots.”

Comments are closed.