Ask Melinda Gates Your Question About Education Reform

BY News Desk  May 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM EDT


Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

As the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Melinda Gates has spent decades looking at the challenges and potential solutions to the problems facing America’s education system.

The foundation controls over $30 billion, which its staff uses to pursue the goal of giving every child an equal opportunity to thrive. The majority of the money goes to reducing obstacles such as poor health and malnutrition in developing nations. But in the United States, the focus has been on identifying and supporting ways to fix the inequalities within a public school system, where schools in high-poverty areas fall far behind their more affluent counterparts and other countries in terms of graduation rates and academic achievement.

Since 1994, the foundation has spent over $6 billion in the United States, looking at data-proven ways to improve student achievement and often jumping into controversial policy debates such as smaller schools in New York City, charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems around the country.

While the amount of money spent on education that comes from private foundations is small compared to what comes from local taxes, state and federal governments, the foundation’s research and advocacy has become integral to the passionate debates about the future of the American education system.

Next week, Melinda Gates will sit down with PBS NewsHour Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan to talk about the Gates Foundation’s work in the field of education and we’d like to hear your suggestions.

Do you have a question for Melinda Gates about the projects they’ve funded, lessons learned, their priorities and where they plan to focus their funding in the future? Send us your questions in the comments below or tweet them to @newshouramgrad.

For the record, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour and the American Graduate project.