TED: A Brief Report So Far

Bill Gates, now a full-time philanthropist, gave a good talk. Especially interesting was the section on his efforts to improve education. Bill’s first multi-billion dollar efforts in this area were not very successful. It’s now clear he sees the problem as much more political than technological. He noted, for example, that a New York law actually prohibits data on student performance to be used in a teacher’s tenure decision. Amazingly, in some union contracts a principal is allowed to enter a teacher’s classroom for the purpose of evaluation only once in a year and the teacher must be given advance notice! This is much harder hitting stuff than Bill has been saying over the past few years although he still isn’t talking about vouchers and competition which is a must to improve the education system.

I had a lovely chat with Peter Gabriel about Witness, a web site and foundation that he started that lets the disempowered all over the world upload videos showing government abuses of power and atrocities. Witness, in other words, empowers little brother to fight big brother.

On a lighter note do you remember Matt the guy who dances in all the videos from around the world? Well, I got to dance with him at TED. For all our sakes I hope I do not make the video.


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