AP060626021814You'd think a gazillionaire like Bill Gates would have plenty of swaggering, similarly flush enemies. But at least one reporter claims that the "biggest adversary" of the king of Microsoft is a contrarian education historian who rails against Obama-approved reforms like independent charter schools and linking teacher pay to test scores.
The heated Internet war between Gates, who now chiefly devotes his time to philanthropy and education reform, and New York University professor Diane Ravitch intensified this week when the Microsoft founder name-checked her in a Newsweek profile that focused on his extensive education efforts.
"Does she like the status quo? Is she sticking up for decline? Does she really like 400-page [union] contracts? Does she think all those 'dropout factories' are lonely? If there's some other magic way to reduce the dropout rate, we're all ears," Gates told the magazine's Jonathan Alter, who called Ravitch Gates' "biggest adversary."
Ravitch wrote extensive responses to each of Gates' questions that were posted Tuesday on a Washington Post education blog. "I wonder why a man of his vast wealth spends so much time trying to figure out how to cut teachers' pay," she wrote, referring to Gates' belief that teachers with master's degrees should not be paid more than those without them. In another zinger, she said Gates should be praising teachers for their hard work, and pointed out many make less than secretaries who work at Microsoft.Read More »from Education activist lobs criticism back at Bill Gates in Internet mini-war