On Thursday, Bill Gates announced that his foundation would be investing over $1.7 billion into public schools in the United States, specifically to support schools that are testing new approaches to teaching.
“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace,” Gates said during his keynote address 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 donated significantly to the cause of education, spending at least $3.4 billion for that purpose, including the development of the Common Core State Standards.
However, Gates admitted that the program had mixed results and that he wanted the new investment to be made in broader terms, allowing the schools and educators themselves to get involved.
“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 said. “We will let people come to us with the set of approaches they think will work for them in their local context.”