Bill Gates has been blasted for meddling in the US education system, with an Occupy movement group protesting the use of his wealth to encourage reforms.
Occupy activists conducted a protest against reforms being advocated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a group confronting spokespeople about proposed reforms.
"Gates Foundation, you will fail! Education is not for sale!” was the chant made to Bill Gates’ organisation. In what was compared to a high school debate by Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian, three Gates Foundation employees were taken to task over its role in education poicy making.
Hagopian claimed that the will of the Gates Foundation is to encourage elitism in schools, while the Occupy Education movement advocated a right for ”education for the 99 percent”.
Gates Foundation employees were grilled over issues which have come to the fore in US educational reforms, such as the backing of chartered schools and standarised testing.
Standarised testing has proved to be particularly divisive, and the Occupy movement is adamant that wealthy individuals should not be allowed to push through legislation that critics claim the majority of parents and teachers are against.
”Occupy Education made it clear that day that we will not allow billionaire flunkies to remake our schools in the image of a production line,” Hagopian said in his account of the demonstration.
Gates has also shown support for a revolution in remote learning such as the Khan Academy, which promotes learning through video outside the classroom. Non profit organisation TED also announced it would be releasing regular videos on its TED-ED YouTube channel, with lessons from top teachers intended to promote learning. MIT recently announced that it would be starting an online only course for a remote study degree.
In the eyes of the Occupy Education movement, more needs to be done to increase spending in the classroom to create closer interaction with teachers, with greater funding diverted into the schools system.