Just yesterday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced that his foundation is set to invest nearly $2 billion USD in U.S. public schools. Money will in turn be awarded to institutions that are focusing on developing and testing new teaching techniques.
“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace,” Gates insisted while delivering the keynote address in front of roughly 1,000 school officials at the Council of the Great City Schools conference in Cleveland. “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.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already graciously dished out $3.4 billion USD on public education, predominantly to develop the Common Core State Standards, while also persuading schools to implement such practices. In addition, money has been designated to support charter schools, teacher preparation programs and various other improvements.
For this latest investment, Gates disclosed that 60 percent will go to traditional public schools, ultimately allowing educational leaders to lead the charge.
“The actual tactics about great teaching, about how to reform the schedule, how to get students who are off track on track — those will be driven by the schools themselves,” Gates noted. “We will let people come to us with the set of approaches they think will work for them in their local context.”
Lastly, 15 percent of the money will go to schools supporting the needs of students with disabilities, while the remainder “will be focused on big bets” such as research and development in education.