Education News in Brief

Gates Calls Teacher Grants a Risk

By Ann Bradley — January 29, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In his 2010 annual letter, Bill Gates describes his foundation’s recent $335 million investment in developing evaluation systems to improve teacher effectiveness, saying there is a “high risk” the work could fail.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made grants in Hillsborough County, Fla.; Los Angeles; Pittsburgh; and Memphis, Tenn., to create systems that primarily will help teachers, he says.

“A key point of contention about an evaluation system is how much it will identify teachers who are not good and don’t improve,” Mr. Gates writes. “A better system should certainly identify the small minority who don’t belong in teaching, but its key benefit is that it will help most teachers improve.”

Mr. Gates, who co-chairs the Seattle-based foundation with his wife, Melinda, notes that in each of the four sites, “the involvement and support of the union representatives .... was a key part of their selection.”

The projects require both creating an innovation—ways to evaluate teachers and help them improve—and delivering the innovation, he writes, which requires teachers to embrace changes to personnel systems.

“If most of the teachers in these locations like the new approach and they share their positive experience, then these evaluation practices will spread,” Mr. Gates says. “The goal is for them to become standard practice nationwide.”

“Previous efforts along these lines seemed to thrive for a few years,” he says, “but if the system is not well run or if teachers reject differentiation, it gets shut down.”

The letter covers all the areas in which the foundation makes grants. (Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week, is among its grantees.)

Mr. Gates discusses online learning, which he says the foundation is just beginning to explore. The chairman of the Microsoft Corp. says that he and others believe the Internet is poised to change formal education, especially in combination with face-to-face learning.

“With the escalating costs of education, an advance here would be very timely,” he writes.

A version of this article appeared in the February 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Gates Calls Teacher Grants a Risk

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: July 13, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read