Rush-hour protest by teachers to target the Gates Foundation
Teachers who oppose the influence of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in education policy will hold a march and rally in Seattle starting at 5 p.m. Thursday at Westlake Park and proceeding to the foundation’s offices near Seattle Center.
Seattle Demonstration vs Gates Foundation will be Livestreamed on http://t.co/QIQ77pw8Wytomorrow at 5 pm @EducatingGatesF
We, the undersigned, demand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from corporate education reform. | Teacher... http://bit.ly/1qxriug
Facebook: Educating the Gates Foundation http://on.fb.me/1qxrrxT
About 300 teachers and their supporters critical of the influence the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationwields in U.S. education policy planned to march to the foundation’s Seattle offices late Thursday afternoon around rush hour.
The Washington state contingent of a Facebook group called Badass Teachers Association — which formed last June and now counts a national membership of more than 48,000 — is organizing the event.
Activists with another website, Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, which has provided an online forum for teachers to tell Gates how his policies affect their classrooms, will deliver those letters during the demonstration.
The event begins with a rally at 5 p.m. at Westlake Park, followed by a march to the foundation’s offices at the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Mercer Street at 5:45 p.m. Featured speakers include Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant; University of Washington, Bothell education professor Wayne Au; and Anthony Cody, a former California teacher and blogger for the newsweekly Education Week.
It’s expected to finish by 7 p.m.
City officials expect significant congestion in the area and are urging drivers to plan accordingly.
Participating educators say the Gates Foundation, through its initiatives and the groups it funds, has blamed teachers and their unions for shortcomings in student performance while discounting the role of poverty.
They also are skeptical about the foundation’s influence in pushing one of the most sweeping changes in American education in decades — the new Common Core standards for English and math.
The Gates Foundation has spent $233 million since 2008 supporting the writing and promotion of the Common Core standards, which have been fully adopted by Washington and 44 other states, according to a Washington Post story earlier this month.
The foundation did not respond to a request to comment on the protest, but Bill Gates told The Washington Post that he’s supporting research into what can make education more effective.
“These are not political things,” Gates told The Post.
The Seattle Times Education Lab project, done in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), is funded in large part by a grant from the Gates Foundation to SJN.
Among the issues that most rankle the foundation’s critics is its support of using student test scores in judging teacher performance. Recently, though, the foundation sided with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who in April 2013 called for a moratorium on using Common Core tests for teacher evaluation.
“No evaluation system will work unless teachers believe it is fair and reliable, and it’s very hard to be fair in a time of transition,” Vicki Phillips, the foundation’s director of education, wrote in an open letter earlier this month calling for a two-year moratorium.
“The standards need time to work,” Phillips wrote. “Teachers need time to develop lessons, receive more training, get used to the new tests, and offer their feedback.”
Such statements are unlikely to blunt the criticism of the educators marching on Thursday.
Renton elementary-school teacher Julianna Dauble, a local organizer of the event, said that educators already are overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to be a classroom teacher these days.
“Instead of improving education by supporting teachers and reducing the workload, Bill Gates has piled on a whole new level of anxiety-ridden workload with Common Core,” she said.
John Higgins: 206-464-3145 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @jhigginsST
In spite of being repeatedly told “IEA NEA: ALL YOU NEED” on its website, Senate Bill 1 updates have not been updated since January 29, 2014. Here is an IEA screen shot taken today. SBI1 cuts and diminishes pensions for active and retired Illinois teachers. Pensions are earned compensation, deferred earnings. SB1 is presently being challenged in court by the IEA and other unions, and one importa
We all want our children to be well educated. However, how is a good education defined and explained?
Will Durant was, arguably, the greatest historian/philosopher of the 20th Century.
Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest men in the 21st Century. He is referred to as a philanthropist by some and as a villainthropist by others who point out that he makes immense profits from most of his philanthropic investments via his tax free foundation.
What does a good education mean?
Will Durant: Consider education not as the painful accumulation of facts and dates and reigns, nor merely the necessary preparation of the individual to earn his keep in the world, but as the transmission of our mental, moral, technical, and aesthetic heritage as fully as possible to as many as possible, for the enlargement of man’s understanding, control, embellishment, and enjoyment of life.
- from The Lessons of History (1968)
Bill Gates:No, no the fifty [state-level] standards were never tested to see they’re excellent. They weren’t subject to rigorous design. The Common Core is the one that the most R and D has gone into to make sure that the progression is right. And so, you know, the, you should look at some, I mean, if you want to get into substance, you should look at the progression, where they talk to people about angles, without explaining triangles. Those fifty things (state standards) are not based on as much effort and energy and understanding as kids deserve. This one (CCSS) has gotten more. Now, you could say, ‘Hey, maybe it should get even more, and more and more. Fine. But this is the most serious effort to, on behalf of kids, make sure they go through math, and reading, and writing, that, that you’re building in a logical way that they will feel successful and they will do well.
Lyndsey Layton:Is this something that you would want for your own kids to, to, these standards, that you would want for your own kids to learn, too?
Bill Gates:We all want our, our own kids to exceed… remember what this is. This is six, what you should know in sixth grade, what you should know in seventh grade, eighth grade. It’s not how it’s taught or anything like that. Yes. I expect my kids to know a superset of the Common Core standards at every single grade involved. I expect them to have the reading skills, uhh, uh, above what the reading and writing skills are in the Common Core standards. So, absolutely. I don’t see who, who would not want that.
- from a Washington Post interview by Lyndsey Leighton (2014)
For a more complete explanation of the interview and a complete, accurate, written transcript, see Mercedes K. Schneider’s EduBlog.
Please decide for yourself and your child which of these two descriptions of a good education you want for your own child.
Finally, please support Diane Ravitch, the Network for Public Education, Anthony Cody and many, many more public education supporters, protestors, activists and advocates in Seattle at the Gates Foundation.
The Gates Foundation
When: June 26th 5PM
Where: Rally at Westlake Park (401 Pine St, Seattle)
March to Gates Foundation (440 5th Ave N, Seattle)
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