Giving Compass' Take:

• Roger Riddell at Education Dive interviews Allan Golston, president of the Gates Foundation's United States program, about the goals of the Gates' Networks for School Improvement initiative. 

• Golston says that some of the guiding principles of the U.S. education programs out of the Gates Foundation center on equity, and ensuring that every student has the opportunities to reach their full potential. How are other donors incorporating equity into their philanthropy?

• Read about progress after one year of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Networks for School Improvement Initiative. 


In K-12 education circles, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has perhaps been most synonymous over the past decade with the Common Core State Standards and efforts to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores. But the past two years have seen it pivot toward a new effort: Building networks between schools to develop best practices and solve common problems.

Allan Golston, president of the foundation's United States Program since 2006, brought a collection of experiences in the private sector, ranging from public accounting and software development to healthcare and education, to these efforts when he joined the organization nearly 20 years ago.

"One of the things that I'm really excited about in our work, whether it's in K-12 or postsecondary or early learning, is we ... think about the national opportunities and to think about the big-picture, systemic types of ideas," Golston told Education Dive, noting that the work remains anchored in what research has defined as key milestones of student and school success.

Over the course of our conversation, Golston elaborated on the Networks for School Improvement initiative, the foundation's goals, and communicating its goals to educators.

EDUCATION DIVE: When it comes to the Gates Foundation's education interests, what are some of the guiding principles that you focus on?

ALLAN GOLSTON: I would say it's really the values of the family, which have anchored this institution across all of our work, and the U.S. programs work is no exception. [They are that] all lives have equal value and that everyone should have a chance to lead a productive life, and geography — where you were born, where you were live — and characteristics like race and ethnicity should not be determinants of one's opportunity to reach their full potential.

Read the full article about school improvement programs by Roger Riddell at Education Dive.