Gates Drops $1.1M on Bracelets to Tell if Kids Are Bored

Foundation bets $1.1M on 'galvanic' wristbands
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 11:00 AM CDT
Gates Drops $1.1M on Bracelets to Tell if Kids Are Bored
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.   (Getty Images)

Bill and Melinda Gates want to ensure kids are engaged in the classroom—so their foundation is plunking down $1.1 million on testing futuristic bracelets that "measure engagement physiologically," based on "galvanic skin response" levels. The Gates' Measuring Effective Teachers project is testing all kinds of teacher evaluation methods across the US. Which is just ridiculous, writes Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post.

"If this tells us anything, it is that the obsession with measurement and data in school reform has reached new nutty heights," Strauss notes. The money "could have been spent on things that schools actually need, such as books, teachers, librarians, etc." What's more, what if a student is galvanized by a friend's whispering, and not the lesson at hand? Here's another option: "How about simply asking students what they thought" of the class? (Read more Bill Gates stories.)

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