by Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post
After spending several billion dollars attempting to reform public education over nearly 20 years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is saying that, oops, the job is harder than its leaders had thought.
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, foundation chief executive officer, wrote this in a newly released annual letter:
We are firm believers that education is a bridge to opportunity in America. My colleague, Allan Golston, spoke passionately about this at a gathering of education experts last year. However, we’re facing the fact that it is a real struggle to make system-wide change.
And she wrote this about the foundation’s investment in creating, implementing and promoting the Common Core State Standards:
Unfortunately, our foundation underestimated the level of resources and support required for our public education systems to be well-equipped to implement the standards. We missed an early opportunity to sufficiently engage educators – particularly teachers – but also parents and communities so that the benefits of the standards could take flight from the beginning.
This has been a challenging lesson for us to absorb, but we take it to heart. The mission of improving education in America is both vast and complicated, and the Gates Foundation doesn’t have all the answers.
© 2016 The Washington Post