Late last month, Bill Gates announced a $1.7 billion investment in building collaborative school networks. The Washington Post reported that he would spend the funds on experimenting with new teaching methods.
As per the article in the Post, he said, “The role of philanthropy here is not to be the primary funder, but rather to fund pilots, to fund new ideas, to let people—it’s always the educators coming up with the ideas—to let them try them out and see what really works super well and get those to scale,” at a keynote address at a conference in Cleveland.
He also said, “Education is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging areas we invest in as a foundation.”
How will the money be spent? Gates described three “buckets.” About 60 percent will go towards the “development of new curricula and networks of schools.” Another 25 percent will go towards “big bets,” or programs that could change public education within the next 10 to fifteen years. The remaining 15 percent will address charter schools, which Gates sees as critical for helping kids with moderate to severe learning disabilities.
In the 17 years that The Gates foundation has supported education, they have one guiding principle. Gates said, “Our role is to serve as a catalyst of good ideas, driven by the same guiding principle we started with: all students – but especially low-income students and students of color – must have equal access to a great public education that prepares them for adulthood.”
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