Gates To Share Book Profits With N.E.A.

By Joanna Richardson — February 01, 1995 1 min read

When Microsoft founder Bill Gates publishes his book on the information highway, $3 million in profits will go not to Mr. Gates or his Fortune 500 company, but to teachers using new technologies in their schools.

The National Education Association announced last month that the 39-year-old computer mogul plans to donate the roughly $2.5 million advance payment andL some proceeds from The Road Ahead to the union’s grant-giving arm, which will distribute the money to teachers nationwide.

Twenty-two teams of educators will receive up to $30,000 for two years to buy hardware and software, modems, cd-rom disk drives, and on-line services for their schools. The project will also provide more technical support to teachers who have new equipment--but lack the know-how to take full advantage of it.

“The hardware is the least of it,” said Judith R‚nyi, the executive director of the N.E.A.'s National Foundation for the Improvement of Education. “What we’re really going to be doing is helping teachers develop good uses for technology.”

Mr. Gates, who started the software company in 1975, has long been interested in how computers and other technologies play a role in education, Greg Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, said last week.


A ‘Vision of Information’

After researching several non-profit groups, Mr. Gates chose to donate to the N.E.A.'s foundation because of its “shared belief about the importance of technology in education” and a strong track record on administering other programs, Mr. Shaw said.

The foundation is expected to use some of the money to evaluate the sites and to disseminate information about successful school projects, Ms. R‚nyi said.

Foundation officials said they will accept proposals from the teams until March 1 and will announce the 22 sites in June.

Teachers must be the primary applicants, although teams should include an administrator, a representative from a community organization, and other educators.

“We’re looking for 22 different projects--not cookie-cutter programs,” Ms. R‚nyi said. “We want to give policymakers a flavor of all the things” the information highway can bring to schools.

For more details about the project, call the foundation’s hot line at (202) 822-7840.

A version of this article appeared in the February 01, 1995 edition of Education Week as Gates To Share Book Profits With N.E.A.