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?
Check out the lengthy letter at this link or by clicking the pic above. If you don’t want to read all 20 pages of the letter, I’ve picked out a few choice excerpts from the U.S. Education page after the jump:
Continue reading Bill Gates Talks Successes & Failures in First Annual Letter