Where Gates money is going in education world this year

(Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)
(Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

Where in the education world has Bill Gates been putting his foundation’s money this year?

A look at some of the biggest grants awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — by far the largest philanthropy in the world — shows millions of dollars being spent to foster “cooperation” between traditional public schools and charter schools in Chicago. Significant money grants were also given to institutions seeking to improve higher-education access and success for underserved students. Half a million dollars was given to help improve communications around the Common Core State Standards, but this is less support for Common Core than the foundation has given in previous years.

For well over a decade, the foundation plowed billions of dollars in K-12 reform (first creating small schools and then teacher evaluation systems, both of which were less than successful), helping to drive the public policy agenda. More recently, it has expanded into higher education. Articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education detailed the nearly half a billion dollars the foundation has spent to help remake the higher education world into one that focuses on getting more students degrees faster through technology and what is called “competency-based learning,” and which is wrapped around an accountability system based on standardized testing.

Here are some of the largest Gates grants for education-related purposes since January 2014:

 

Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students.
Amount: $200,000
Term: 9
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Excelsior College
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to educate state policy and postsecondary leaders about the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
Amount: $200,000
Term: 25
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Inc 
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to support a professional development conference designed and delivered by the National Board, Teaching & Learning 2014
Amount: $200,000
Term: 1
Topic: College-Ready

 

University of North Carolina
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students
Amount: $200,000
Term: 10
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

The Institute for College Access and Success
Date: March 2014
Purpose: To increase college affordability and completion for low-income students by identifying and advancing federal and institutional policies and practices to: help students make wise decisions about where to go to college and how to pay for it; reduce the need to borrow; tie colleges’ federal aid eligibility to their risk to students and taxpayers, with rewards for colleges with strong outcomes for low-income students; and make loan repayment more manageable for students.
Amount: $1,200,000
Term: 22
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

University System of Georgia
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students
Amount: $200,000
Term: 10
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Montana University System
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students.
Amount: $200,044
Term: 10
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

University of Hawaiʻi Foundation
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students.
Amount: $200,000
Term: 10
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Utah System of Higher Education

Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the planning and implementation work of public state college and university systems seeking to dramatically improve access and success for underserved students.
Amount: $200,035
Term: 10
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Illinois Network Of Charter Schools
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance collaboration between traditional district schools and public charter schools in Chicago
Amount: $281,800
Term: 23
Topic: College-Ready

 

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education 
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to determine the possibility of aligning multiple organizations’ efforts currently focused on transfer to more widely and effectively deploy solutions
Amount: $173,440
Term: 7
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Urban Libraries Council
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance the professionalism of the public library field, build greater connections between libraries and their communities, and increase the number of people that have opportunities to enrich and improve their lives through the exceptional information, communication, and technology services in public libraries
Amount: $4,779,157
Term: 49
Topic: Global Libraries

 

The Chicago Community Trust
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to advance collaboration between traditional district schools and public charter schools in Chicago
Amount: $1,112,000
Term: 11
Topic: College-Ready

 

Children’s First Fund, The Chicago Public School Foundation
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to advance collaboration between traditional district schools and public charter schools in Chicago
Amount: $1,249,040
Term: 24
Topic: College-Ready

 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to promote deep implementation and scaling of evidence-based innovations and reform by Trade Adjustment Act Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Consortia (comprised of community colleges) that are part of the Transformative Change Initiative (TCI).
Amount: $400,000
Term: 23
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

United Way of the Mid-South
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to build awareness of and engage communities in supporting teachers and their development
Amount: $342,576
Term: 19
Topic: College-Ready

 

National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
Date: February 2014
Purpose: To develop formulations of state policies and accreditation requirements that are supportive of innovative approaches to educational delivery that can substantially improve access and success for low-income adults
Amount: $375,000
Term: 18
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

National Association of State Budget Officers
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to identify and address the information gap that exists between state budget officials and higher education officials to foster constructive dialogue between these two groups and help inform resource allocation decisions that lead to better higher education outcomes
Amount: $225,000
Term: 19
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

California State University
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to support commitments from the California State Legislature and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to create the California Open Education Resource Council and the first version of the California Open Source Digital Library to increase adoption of open textbooks
Amount: $500,000
Term: 29
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

Harvard University
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to provide prize money and administrative costs for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2014 Education Innovation Pitch Competition, which is designed to generate new entrepreneurial concepts in the education sector
Amount: $10,000
Term: 2
Topic: College-Ready

 

Stanford University
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to support the Core Practice Consortium to develop, implement, and study teacher education pedagogies
Amount: $450,000
Term: 24
Topic: College-Ready

 

Partnership for Learning
Date: February 2014
Purpose: to support the Ready Washington Coalition and stakeholder groups to improve communications and outreach around the Common Core State Standards
Amount: $499,492
Term: 24
Topic: Community Grants

 

Complete College America Inc.
Date: January 2014
Purpose: to promote improvements in college completion rates nationally by working with an alliance of states committed to increasing college completion
Amount: $3,500,000
Term: 26
Topic: Postsecondary Success

 

 Scholarship America, Inc.
Date: January 2014
Purpose: to support a scholarship program that provides immigrant students with scholarships for quality, affordable college educations that lead to career-ready degrees
Amount: $10,000,000
Term: 58

 

American Enterprise Institute For Public Policy Research
Date: January 2014
Purpose: to support research and dissemination of effective teacher leadership practices
Amount: $249,445
Term: 18
Topic: College-Ready

 

New Venture Fund
Date: January 2014
Purpose: for general conference support
Amount: $1,163,695
Term: 12
Topic: College-Ready

 

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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