In an address on reforming public education at the National Conference for State Legislatures in Philadelphia this morning, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates said the nation has been in an “education crisis for decades.”

He went on to say that “America’s schools, on the whole, are not pretty good.”

Gates called on the assembled legislators to enact stronger performance measures and enhance data collection. “We need to measure what matters … We don’t know the answers (the problems plaguing education) because we aren’t asking the questions.”

He then specifically criticized New York state for banning the use of teacher performance data in making tenure decisions.

The only instances in his speech in which he praised education policy decisions was in the case of Texas — in which he singled out the privately-run KIPP charter schools for innovation, while also noting positive work being done in Houston and Hildalgo.

Indeed, Gates specifically called for state lawmakers to lift restrictions on the numbers of charters that can operate.

Texas lawmakers tried to do that this session, but liberals blocked the move on a technicality.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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