Bill gives a talk on world health and education at this year’s TED conference! He says, “There’s no reason only poor people should have the experience [of malaria]” after he set the mosquitoes loose on the crowd of some of the world’s most prominent thinkers. Brilliant.
He then goes on to discuss his foundation’s focus on making great teachers: “Even though I was a college dropout, I had great teachers.”
“How do you make education better? Having great teachers was the key… If the entire US had top quartile teachers, the entire difference between us and Asia would be gone in a year. It’s simple, all we need is the top quartile teachers.”
But how do you shift the culture of teaching to focus on improvement and to be data-driven? Well watch his 20-minute TED talk here:
I feel like a Bill Gates fanboy. He’s one of the few public figures that I seem to continually bring up in my posts because I think so highly of his move from Microsoft to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation six months ago. When he first made the announcement that he had planned to do that, it was an acknowledgment to the entire world that we are facing extremely grave social problems, and that it was going to take commitment from talented people to solve those problems. And it was like a high five for the nonprofit sector. Thanks Billy.
Recently, Bill released a public letter about the foundation’sÂ efforts to improve education and global health, as well as the impact of the economic downturn on those efforts.
What I liked about the letter was Bill’s candid review of the foundation’s successes and failures, particularly in the education field. He discusses that even though they’ve made over $2 billion in grants to create better high schools over the last nine years, “Many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve studentsâ€™ achievement in any significant way.” Rather than investing in existing schools to improve their systems, the foundation will focus on creating new schools out of radical charter school models that work, like KIPP, and invest in systems that will foster the creation of better teachers. He said, “If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”
He also praised the Obama administration for committing to education despite the recession and dwindling tax revenues, as we saw with the education portion of the stimulus plan.
I also wanted to point out that the foundation’s website says “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation BETA.”
Seriously? BETA? Come on… What’s up with this beta culture spreading to the nonprofit sector?