19:02 GMT25 May 2020
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    The billionaire CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, is dishing out $100 million to replace public school teachers with computers, and not everyone is convinced the idea has merit.

    The technology-driven charter school program, proposed by the businessman, is supported by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who has dropped an eye-popping $400 million on the concept. Hastings, 55, has upped the ante by also launching a foundation to get things moving.

    “The underlying mentality that Hastings shares with Gates is that computers revolutionized commerce, revolutionized business, revolutionized manufacturing, so now why can’t computers revolutionize education,” Anthony Cody, a retired high school teacher from Oakland, California, and critic of the takeover by Silicon Valley of learning institutions, told AlterNet. “In their minds, it is inevitable that it will. The only question is what will be the delivery method.”

    Hastings has been promoting charter schools for two decades. Charter schools were originally meant to innovate public schools, but have become a pawn in the fight to privatize all education, with for-profit franchises dominating the industry.

    The shift to charter schools, especially in urban areas, has long been controversial. Often anti-democratic and run in a corporate fashion, the model opposes unionization, and is documented to be prone to fiscal corruption, relying heavily on test scoring alone to gauge student progress and evaluate school effectiveness.

    Additionally, many studies have shown that students who learn primarily through a computer screen instead of human interaction learn less than their human-educated counterparts.


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    Education, Netflix, Charter Schools, Bill Gates, Reed Hastings
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