The Obama administration has long argued that schools should be “transparent” and “accessible,” but Bill Gates has gone even further, proposing to eliminate “the black eye” for public education by giving parents more control over how their children receive their education.
“The problem with public education today is that it is too complicated and too expensive,” Gates said at a speech in Washington last week.
“If I could just give parents a little bit more power, I would.”
Gates said he was talking about the fact that schools currently spend $20 billion a year to administer their courses and pay teachers and administrators, but that he would allow them to set their own curriculum.
“I would like to give parents more power in how they spend their money,” Gates told the audience at Georgetown University.
“That would make education more transparent.”
Gates’ plan was a bold departure from the way he has handled education during his years in the White House, and one that has drawn criticism from some within his own administration.
He has previously advocated eliminating “the gap” between rich and poor, and making public schools more accessible for everyone, but he has not said whether he would go so far as to dismantle the public school system entirely.
The former Microsoft CEO has made his money through investments in education companies, but his philanthropy has also focused on helping students, rather than simply giving them money.
Earlier this month, Gates announced plans to give $2 billion to support community colleges, as well as $1.2 billion for scholarships and loans for low-income students.
As part of the deal, Gates will also donate $1 billion to Teach for America, a community college organization that is run by Black girls and women.
Gates also announced plans for $1 trillion in philanthropic investments over the next decade, which would create more than 15 million jobs.
Gates has also made an effort to help students in low-wage countries, including funding a $1 million grant to the United Nations to help poor countries improve their education systems.