Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates says his foundation hopes to post online videos of exemplary teachers plying their craft as a way to inspire other educators and help students learn. He also says the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its giving in 2009, despite the sinking economy. The news comes in an open letter published by Gates on Monday, which summarizes the foundation's progress in health and education and outlines its plans in the months ahead. Gates left Microsoft's executive ranks last July to focus full-time on the foundation he created with his wife, Melinda. The letter is the first of what Gates says will be an annual series of missives to foundation stakeholders.
In the letter, Gates highlights a new area of focus for his foundation's education work: helping to identify what makes teachers successful and sharing these best practices more broadly. 'It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one. Research shows there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school,' he wrote.