How can Bill Gates help education?? Alexander the Great can tell him.

Suppose, instead of the grandiose, totalitarian, billion-dollar approach that doesn't turn out well, Bill Gates wants to sponsor education reform that quickly and efficiently produces fine results....

 In short, he wouldn't do something like Common Core, a vast federal program that is top-heavy, top-down, and contemptuous of everything at the bottom. No, he'd stay miles away from that.

 But how about he looks for the quick, simple, even down-and-dirty ways to improve the schools in this country. He does not seem to have the right advisors. So I presume to give him some ideas in this short article.

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 I wonder if any kids today learn what the Gordian knot was? There was a famous knot, a big tangled mess very much like our educational system. And someone told Alexander the Great that, according to legend, anybody who could untie this knot would become king of the world. Do you know what Alexander did?

 He took out his sword and chopped it in half and said: "I untie it thus!"

 Isn't that great? I think I learned it in the seventh grade and still remember exactly how pleased I was by that fine piece of theater.

 Well, Bill Gates needs to think like Alexander. Forget about spending $1 billion and wasting years and years and years. Figure out the places where you can put a small amount of pressure and make something big happen. That's how my mind works.

Our K-12 educational system is full of scores, perhaps hundreds, of nutty counterproductive Gordian knots. Chop them all into pieces.

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