Bill Gates: 'Education may be the hardest civil rights fight of all'

Is he standing all alone when it comes to education reform?
When it comes to education reform, Bill Gates refuses to go to the back of the bus.
Jul 29, 2011· 0 MIN READ
Originally from Baltimore, Oliver lives and writes on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brooklyn.

Speaking at the National Urban League's annual conference on Thursday, the philathropist discussed his past efforts to narrow the education achievement gap between black and Latino students and their white counterparts with smaller schools and classrooms -- the rationale being that they would promote better attendance and closer interaction with teachers.

But after spending $5 billion on programs in San Diego, Denver, and New York City, the Microsoft founder said he was underwhelmed with the results -- just a 10% increase in college attendance.

His next project? Understanding teachers.

As reported by WBUR Boston:

“To truly support teachers, we have to understand excellent teaching,” Gates said. “So for us, the challenge became, let’s analyze the teachers whose students are making the biggest gains, identify what they do and figure out how to transfer those skills to others. Amazingly, we found that the field of education had done little work or research in this area.”

So is education a civil rights issue? As Gates mentions, it's a type of discrimination that is difficult to gauge. But at least he's putting his money where his mouth is -- an estimated $335 million over the next five years to study the way effective teachers teach and eliminate the most common student errors.

Read the full story here.