To the Editor:
I was surprised and disappointed to see, once again, Bill Gates's opinions and "visions" of higher education highlighted on your pages ("A Conversation With Bill Gates About the Future of Higher Education," The Chronicle, June 25). The man is a symbol of everything that is wrong with education "reform." Having been a noncompleter who benefited from the experience of attending really good schools, he jabbers endlessly about the importance of college-completion rates. Having been a student bored by routine and "efficiency" who went his own way and innovated well, he asserts that "efficiency" and "metrics" are the keys to improving higher education. Either he is a hypocrite or a dunderhead who cannot recognize the absurdity of his own claims.
Your featuring him repeatedly reveals the money nexus that currently directs (and spoils) both higher education and the media. Because he is wealthy and successful (if the accumulation of wealth guarantees a person's "success"), he is accepted as an expert on anything that he chooses to talk about. When a professional publication such as The Chronicle advances the agenda of such people, it loses its own credibility. Editorial policy should not encourage people such as Mr. Gates to expound on their "ideas." Instead it should encourage a more directly critical and balanced assessment of those ideas by good writers who know education.
I would really like to see the ideas of educational innovators highlighted in The Chronicle. But until they are wealthy enough, and have enough name recognition to sell issues, I expect them to remain out of the public view. And that is a shame.
Professor of English
Western New England University