Bill Gates Plans to Spend $1.7 Billion in Support of Public Education

1 min

Feature image was taken by Kjetil Ree.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates plans to spend $1.7 billion on education over five years.

Can tech billionaires help save America’s education system?

Microsoft founder and tech mogul Bill Gates recently spoke with the Council of Great City Schools about how he plans to buttress the education system with a donation of $1.7 billion from his philanthropic foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Over the next five years, the Gates Foundation will invest the funds into various initiatives aimed at helping the public school system. Their focus is addressing inequality, which, according to Gates, is a root cause of struggling public education.

Melinda and I made public education our top priority in the U.S. because we wanted to do something about the disparity in achievement and post-secondary success for students of color and low-income students,” Gates told the Council of Great City Schools. “That inequity persists today, and we are just as determined now to eliminate it as we were when we started.”

Gates hopes to tackle education with a five-pronged effort. These categories are:

  1. Data collection
  2. Working locally
  3. Improving curriculum
  4. Focusing on special-needs students
  5. Funding research

Charter schools will receive initial focus, as they are better equipped to support students with special needs.

Gates further spoke in support of Common Core, but also for a need for improved curriculum and guidelines to assist teachers in implementing it.

Bill Gates speaking at conferencevia Flickr | Sam Churchill

As any teacher will tell you, more funding to the public system is very much welcomed. However, is philanthropic giving enough to bridge the gap? And is it the right way to go about fixing an education system?

While in the short term, educators welcome the help, many critics are skeptical.

In an era of wide disappointment with educational leadership and a dearth of federal funding for public education, perhaps donations by well-meaning philanthropists like Gates are the best answer.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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