Video Of The Week: James Walter Doyle Profile

In a couple weeks we are going to kick off a month long DonorsChoose campaign here at AVC. We haven’t done one since August of 2011, when all of us raised $56,000 to celebrate The Gotham Gal and my 50th birthdays.

I will explain more about this new campaign we are going to do when it launches on April 1st. But in preparation for the campaign, I would like to remind everyone why DonorsChoose is so great. This profile of James Walter Doyle explains exactly why investing in teachers and their classrooms is so important.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. John Revay

    “In a couple weeks we are going to kick off a month long DonorsChoose campaign”10 Year AVC milestone

  2. Dale Allyn

    Great video of Mr. Doyle and his class. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Cam MacRae

    Quite inspiring. Look forward to hearing more about the new campaign.Also: @disqus, what the fuck?

    1. William Mougayar

      how did that happen

      1. Cam MacRae

        No idea, but Disqus has lost an advocate.This is what I’ve got now — why do they feel the need to treat me like an idiot?

        1. William Mougayar

          You need to take these “suggestions” with a grain of salt 🙂

          1. Cam MacRae

            Duly noted. Although if I wanted tabloid sensibility I’d read one of Uncle Rupe’s chip wrappers.

          2. awaldstein


          3. William Mougayar

            Because they are not personalized. It says Around the web.

        2. Dale Allyn

          C’mon, you know you love Miley Cyrus and Tiger Woods gossip. ;)I’m guessing the selection is provided based on most lucrative page view benefits. That’s not a great path, and if this is the plan, I’m hopeful there will be a new plan soon.One can see where this content would be appropriate on some of the tabloid websites which use Disqus, but without a complete change of content for sites such A VC or other non-trashy sites, the value is greatly diminished.

    2. Dale Allyn

      Quantity over quality?;)(in reference to the Disqus part, not the inspiration part.)

      1. Cam MacRae

        Surely they could find 6 more suitable posts — they’ve been following me around the web for years now.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Cam, at the time of your post, the content was the same for me. It’s now filled with Lindsay Lohan and some other Hollywood stuff, and I’m not a Hollywood follower. Quite the opposite. So I’m led to assume that the algos are much simpler than one might think.#workinprogress;)

          1. Cam MacRae

            Fair enough. Nonetheless it’s earned an adblock filter: ##div[id=”discovery-content-wrap”]

        2. Dale Allyn

          I’ll add that I feel they should either provide more relevant content asap, or remove the element. Its incongruence is jarring and potentially harmful to the brand (both the blogger’s and Disqus’). I wish them much continued success, but this needs tuning.

    3. awaldstein

      Wondering whether this is not the new ‘content’ box that drives click-based traffic back to advertisers.

      1. Cam MacRae

        No idea. It’s piss poor whatever it is.

        1. awaldstein

          Yup.As non contextual as can be.I’m sure they will chime in and clarify.

          1. Dale Allyn

            And less entertaining than on my friend’s blog post with photos of the yoga position “downward facing dog” on which the google adsense content included ads for dog food. 😉

    4. obscurelyfamous

      Hey Cam MacRae and all -We dropped the ball on the quality of these ads. Two things would impact this:- We changed the ad click optimization across the network recently.- We’ve had advertisers try new content in the system.This content really shouldn’t be showing up in this community. But most of all, some of this shouldn’t really be in Disqus at all.We’re early here. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves when many parts of this are growing in parallel. Good feedback here because, honestly, a lot of our experiments go on since the community is quick to let us know when we’re doing something wrong.First thing we’re doing is making sure that we reaffirm our content quality guidelines and then make sure everything falls in line with that. For those we let down, I’m sorry, and I hope we’ll earn back the chance to have you as a supporter again.

      1. Cam MacRae

        @danielha:disqus You are to be commended on your response. Maxis/EA should be using you as a case study.

      2. ShanaC

        thanks daniel. ad click optimization is a technology still in infancy, primarily because getting quality data is hard…

    5. Jan Schultink

      I switched off Disqus “around the web” on my blog for exactly this reason

  4. William Mougayar

    DonorsChoose empowers teachers to go beyond what is expected of them.I have a touching story from way back. An entrepreneur friend of mine became a high school because it was a passion of his.In 2003, his International Relations class had four walls and no windows, so his class decided to create one. They asked people from around the world to email photos of views outside their windows, which they used to hang on the wall in the shape of window. Photos poured-in each depicting a different environment, culture, and lifestyle.That helped students better understand other cultures and they made global connections. Today, Outside My Window remains a school club at Evergreen Valley HS in California.http://www.outsidemywindow….

  5. William Mougayar

    Are you sure about the April 1st date for the announcement? April fool’s day 🙂

  6. Richard

    There is something very peculiar about k12 education. When I talk to individual teachers, everyone seems bright and competent, yet the macro numbers are awful. I have an idea why, anyone else have a thought?

    1. Tom Labus

      Good point.

    2. PhilipSugar

      1. The numbers are a bullshit, poor measurement of quality, my daughter just completed the MSA’s.2. We have created through entitlements a class of people that doesn’t want to be educated and you can’t fix stupid.

      1. Richard

        Poor in what way?

        1. PhilipSugar

          A standardized test does not measure much of anything other than teaching to the test. Do you have kids?We have people with kids in NJ, MD, DE, and PA. Each of us detests the use of standardized tests. We watch the games, we see you can’t teach, we see how our kids only care about the test. I am pulling mine to a private school that teaches the classics.You watch teachers teach to the test instead of teach how to learn. People who “look at the numbers” are making us go from the most creative nation in the world to the non-creative test taking, need to be told what to do countries that haven’t invented anything but can copy really well.

          1. Richard

            I agree whole heartedly. Make no mistake, testing is a necessary substitute for discipline (but so is homework and projects) The hypothethis is that Testing is used incorrectly . Assuming this is true (which I have no knowledge), the issue is why? Why would a political class not do what is in the best interest of the individual? I have a hard time believing it is just an ignorant political class. What we know is that every relationship with the Government seems to be motivated by its unlimited access to capital and an insatiable quest for power. Find the beneficiaries of this system and you’ll find the reasons.

          2. PhilipSugar

            You answered your own question in your second to last sentence.There is no reason the Federal Government should provide money to schools. There should be no department of education. Its a redistribution of wealth and increases the governments power.If my child’s school district wants the Federal money that I have been taxed they have to play by the Federal governments rules.You don’t think those people sitting in those nice granite offices (have you seen their offices?) in Washington DC really care about education do you? Or do they care about their cushy jobs and fat pensions?This is not a teacher problem. This is an administration problem. I think the vast, vast majority of teachers are not great, they are awesome.I think the vast, vast majority of administrators are overpaid and only interested in themselves. Back to my rule of paying the producer more than the administrator and what happens if you don’t

      2. ShanaC

        why do you say 2 is true

        1. PhilipSugar

          Because it is. Talk to teachers and ask: Are there kids and their parents that don’t really want to learn? How much does that frustrate you when your performance is evaluated on how they score on standardized tests? Even though that education is the most valuable thing we can give a child, for some it gets valued at how much they had to pay for it.

    3. Jeffrey Hartmann

      I think the fact that we focus so much on teaching to tests, and not worrying about creativity, exploration, and teaching our children to teach critically is really a big part of the problem. I firmly believe that assessment can not be the goal, but has to be something that happens naturally.For example, my son is in first grade and he reads at a 4th grade level according to an assessment last winter. They still make him read what is basically a Dick and Jane paragraph once a week and record his progress. Yup still flawless on Dick and Jane, just like every week since school started. We have to challenge our children, and every one of them is different. I actually like the school house model where children of all ages learn together. In science, math and reading my son is ahead, in other things he might be more at the normal range of what is considered a first grade level. I think natural assessment (technology can really help here, part of what my startup is about actually) and challenging the kids based on their level will bring us back to greatness. Matt Damon gave a speech that I completely agree with that I think is particularly good way to look at things:http://www.washingtonpost.c

      1. Richard

        Yep, i think you are onto something. Let’s help young students reach their full potential with a rich, challenging and engaging full spectrum of eduction.

      2. PhilipSugar

        Exactly. I live on the Chesapeake Bay. Want to take the kids out and teach them about Biology and really get them interested? Well we can only do that on the weekends because we have to teach for the test.So we have to rely on teachers that go the extra mile and parents that have the time/schedule.Teaching to the test is not what invented the internet, cell phone, etc.

        1. ShanaC

          good god, what would the likes of Thoreau say!!!

  7. Sean Saulsbury

    I couldn’t disagree more with supporting DonorsChoose. Public education is the problem, not the solution, and continuing to fund the mechanism that is poisoning children’s minds a step in the wrong direction. What we really need to advocate is freedom in education, i.e., get the government OUT of the business of educating our children.

    1. fredwilson

      please. that is the most ridiculous comment i have read on AVC in many many months

  8. jason wright

    what is the atomic unit of education? (edited for spelling)

    1. fredwilson

      an explanation

      1. jason wright

        …and then learning to spell 😉 (edit)

    2. ShanaC

      a question

  9. Emil Sotirov

    May I point to one new (just started) site with a similar mission:bookmentors.orgIt is focused on books and literacy. Donors can actively suggest and offer book titles that they personally think are important… and must be available to children in public schools with high poverty levels.Disclaimer: my wife and I are involved with the creation of BookMentors.

  10. Jeffrey Hartmann

    This is absolutely awesome Fred, I really think providing teachers with the tools and resources that they need to help our kids become the best they can be is really noble. Looking forward to April to see what you have planned.

  11. Andrew

    I love DonorsChoose it’s the perfect level of transparency and I see they’ve cleaned up the site a lot. Fred do you know if they will decide to support projects world wide or is that not in their plans?

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