When the money runs out

Eventually, even billionaires bail, and when their money is gone problems remain. In some cases, big problems.

Two years into work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness, city school officials have determined that the financial outlook has changed so much that the effort will be unsustainable without a major retooling.

By revamping teacher salaries -- paying for test results instead of degrees or years of service -- Memphis City Schools leaders hope to find a big chunk of the $34 million a year it will take to keep going when the Gates money stops in 2015.

The district is now spending another $250,000 on consultants to figure the mess out. Cleaning up that mess left behind by Bill Gates "philanthropy" might be a whole host of lost jobs and school closings.

One possibility, he says, is reducing the nonteaching staff -- secretaries, cafeteria workers, maintenance staff -- who work in every school in the city.

Another is closing schools and funneling the savings back to the Gates' work.

The whole idea was to institute test score based pay for teachers, but the effort turned out to be far more expensive and unsustainable that systems where pay is collectively bargained. If that doesn't strike you are irresponsible enough, it does actually get worse

"We just found out this week that the 400 new teachers in the district will have to use schoolwide data for their TVAAS score.

"Thirty-five percent of their score will be schoolwide data from a time when they were not even part of the district."

Indeed. Imagine having your performance nad pay being evaluated using scores that aren't even your own. Welcome to the wonderful world of Corporate education reform.