The Answer to the Great Question of Education Reform? The Number 42

By Adam Bessie

2013.10.15.Gates.MainFor the Gateses and their Silicon Valley disciples who have also invested millions in The Answer – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Netflix’s Reed Hastings – our public school system is really just a large operating system. It is not a messy, social, human enterprise but, rather, a technical problem, one that can be solved through quantification, effective programming and, most of all, through data, data, data – and numerical data, at that, which should be analyzed, evaluated and synthesized by ceaseless computation, preferably by Deep Thought.

These Tech Titans have no doubt about The Answer, no lapse in faith as to its certainty – but no check on their power, no accountability if it turns out to be wrong.

I call it the Gates Paradox – the power of your voice in the “education reform” debate is proportional to the distance from the classroom (and your proximity to Silicon Valley) multiplied by the amount of money you earn. Of course, each additional media outlet owned increases the influence by a factor of ten.

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