The Badass Teachers Association members, a teacher’s union based in Seattle, marched through the down-town area before reaching the headquarters of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the 26th of June, Thursday.
The union and their supporters were protesting a new set of educational reforms set to be implemented in schools. The new reform called Common Core State Standards, has been receiving generous funding from the Gates’ Foundation. The reforms have general acceptance in the government, however, some teacher organisations are unhappy with these changes saying that they are designed to restrict students from thinking with an open mind. The union and their supporter marched towards the Gates’ Foundation chanting, ‘Kids are not a test score.’
Taking a Look At The Reform
The major aspects of these reforms are aimed at a syllabus overhaul:
- Research and evidence based course structure
- Clear, understandable, and consistent
- Education that is aligned with college and career expectations
- Based on rigorous content and the application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
- Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
- Informed by other top-performing countries to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society
Evidently, some teacher and parent groups were not pleased with these features being taught to their children from as young as pre-school. The opposition to these reforms insisted that they are designed to squelching creativity in children. The supporters of these reforms, however, argue that relating education to real-life skills that are relevant in today’s economic environment are both practical and necessary to ensure students have the necessary qualities and knowledge to secure jobs.
The Gates’ Foundation, being a large supporter of the reforms, however, was quick to issue an image damage-control statement. The Director of Education for the Gates’ Foundation, said, ‘We’ve shifted some our strategy as a result. We’ve shifted some of the tools and supports. In fact, we’ve been co-designing a lot of those things both with teachers and based on what teachers tell us.’
[quote_right]Vicki Phillips (left) says the Foundation is taking steps to re-evaluate their findings[/quote_right]
Despite the opposition of some teacher’s and parent’s union organizations, there is a general consensus in favour of the reform. And even though the Gates’ Foundation might be having second thoughts about their support on these reforms, the governments seems to be ploughing ahead to implement these changes as soon as possible.