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The Gates Foundation And Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Launch A Joint Venture To Improve Education

It aims to improve education for disadvantaged students.

Photos by Gisela Giardino/Flickr and Joe Ogiba/Flickr.

There’s a large chasm in the American education system between the research level and the classroom. While innovative studies are happening in universities and research facilities, very little of it trickles down to the school level.


The reasons for this disconnect are multiple, but much of it could be improved by more school funding and teacher training while updating learning materials and in-class technology. Every year that education fails to evolve, another class of students matriculates into an ever-changing economy where skills set in the previous decade are in danger of becoming obsolete.

To help bridge this gap, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have come together for a new project.

The goal is to break down the walls between education research and schools to create a more transparent path for new ideas to reach teachers and students.

Photo via U.S. Department of Education/Flickr.

The initiative will pay specific attention to students facing early childhood trauma, dislocation, learning challenges, poverty, and under-resourced schools. It will also look into improving teaching methods for math and writing while gaining a better understanding of how a child’s brain functions.

“The reason our two philanthropies have decided to join hands in this effort is simple: We believe the scope and importance of this work exceeds what any single organization can or should undertake alone,” Jim Shelton of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Bob Hughes of the Gates Foundation said in a joint statement. “There’s so much unrealized potential to accelerate student learning, and we hope many others will be inspired to collaborate toward this same goal alongside us.”

The joint initiative has yet to announce any pilot projects because it’s still in an exploratory phase. The initiative is currently seeking information from across sectors, including technology, medicine, educations, academia, and business.

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