When Bill Gates recently did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) he was asked about the biggest challenge facing his foundation. Teacher Larry Ferlazzo found the response mighty interesting, and he’s offered a piece of advice to Gates to help him meet that challenge.

Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, of course, are the most generous philanthropists in the world through their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which primarily focuses on world health issues and, secondly, on school reform in the United States. Some of their education philanthropy has been controversial, including the hundreds of millions they spent helping to develop and promote the Common Core State Standards, and hundreds of millions more to create and implement teacher assessment systems that use student standardized test scores as part of the evaluation.

Ferlazzo  is an award-winning veteran educator who teaches English and social studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif. He has written seven books on education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher and has his own popular resource-sharing blog. He last addressed Gates and his school reform philanthropy in this piece, “Why a new Bill Gates interview depressed Larry Ferlazzo.”

Now Ferlazzo, on one of his blogs, points out something that Gates said during his Reddit AMA:


Here is the full quote from the Reddit AMA:

Hi Mr. Gates! Thanks so much for coming back again, I missed your last 2 AMAs.
What do you think is the hardest challenge that the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is currently facing?
We have some tough scientific challenges like an HIV cure.
However the toughest thing is helping teachers learn from the best teachers. There are great teachers and the kids who get them are lucky. We should be able to spread those skills but the current system doesn’t do it very well.

And here is Ferlazzo’s advice to Gates to help him meet this challenge:

Asking teachers how to do it — with no agenda going into the question — might be a good way to start figuring it out…