(NEW YORK) — During an interview on This Week, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates told George Stephanopoulos that Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s purchase of mobile messaging app, Whatsapp, was “a bold move.”
“Fifty years ago, no 55-person company was bought for $19 billion. And that’s a good thing,” Gates said on This Week Sunday.
In February 2014, Facebook acquired Whatsapp – which has over 450 million users – for $19 million, much to the surprise of many in the tech industry, including Gates. The Whatsapp purchase, however, paled in comparison to the major acquisition of photo app, Instagram, for which Facebook paid $1 billion in 2012.
While speaking of Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Gates said, “It’s an example of how he’s an out-of-the-box thinker, he’s aggressive, I hope it works out for him– not everybody would’ve done it. I’ll say that for sure.”
Gates also talked to Stephanopoulos about his new passion project, the national curriculum called Common Core. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has invested about $75 million in the fiercely controversial Common Core State Standards, an initiative calling for more rigorous classroom instruction and new national education standards.
“I think it’s such an exciting thing to have high standards, to have quality standards, and to have consistent standards,” Gates said.
Still, some of the 45 states that have already adopted the standards are now looking to delay or do away with the Core altogether, with pressure mounting from a coalition of teachers’ groups, parents, and the Tea Party. Some conservatives argue the new standards amount to federal control over education. “It doesn’t tell you how to teach,” Gates said in response. “It’s not a federal takeover.”
Gates noted that the Common Core is helping to identify areas of weakness in education.
“When we go to higher standards, there is a transition where you’ll see the way we’ve been teaching math is not good enough. And so to meet these high standards, we actually need to do it in a smarter way.”
The smarter way, according to Gates, is to change the framework of teaching so that American students can catch up to the competition in China, Japan, and South Korea.
“Their textbooks are a lot smaller – they teach you less per grade – but they make sure you really understand it. And we have these gigantic textbooks– and so you’re getting shallow knowledge on a regular basis of too many concepts.”
In terms of the future of Common Core, Gates said, “I believe ten years from now– kids’ confidence in math, kids’ scores in math can be improved a lot…where [students] feel like, ‘Yes, I get this, I’m not discouraged,’ it is so important. And, you know, these standards are the foundation for that…I think this is going to be big win for education.”
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