Master Teachers – Bill Gates and His Foundation


 Bill Gates dropped out of college to co-found Microsoft with Paul Allen.  Eventualy he became one of the richest men in the world – worth about $54 billinon in 2007. 

The Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation looks for and sponsors those Master Teachers – public or private – who are applying the best educational practices.

I was always curious about Bill Gates’ schooling.  First of all – he didn’t drop out of just any college – it was  Harvard.  You do not enter Harvard without good schooling.  He states below that after a poor start in sixth grade of  public school his parents sent him to a private school – the Seattle Lakeside School.  His father was an attorney and his mother a teacher and board director.  He flourished at Lakeside.  

 He was a top math student by Grade 8 – thus entitling him to “independent study and computer stuff”.  He was also interested in being a business entrepreneur and was involved in some software programming businesses.  His parents wanted him to go to Harvard to study law rather than going into business with his older high school friend Paul Allen. This he did going to Harvard – for a while.

Then while Gates was at Harvard Paul Allen hooked him into going into business with him – with this cover.  His parents supported this.  The rest is history.

On good teachers:  “The Gates Foundation has learned that two questions can predict how much kids learn:

  •  “Does your teacher use class time well?” and,
  •  “When you’re confused, does your teacher help you get straightened out?” “

But Bill Gates has a personal story too.

PARADE sat down with the software mogul turned philanthropist to talk about the movie, the American education system, and his own school days.
“PARADE: As a student, did you have one teacher who really influenced you?
I went to a public school through sixth grade, and being good at tests wasn’t cool. Then my parents switched me to the Lakeside School [a private school in Seattle]. A teacher there, Mr. Anderson, was pairing people up by ability for a geography quiz, and he put me with this kid I didn’t think was very clever. I thought, Wait, he thinks I’m the same as this kid? Man, oh, man, there’s something wrong.

PARADE: How did you turn yourself into a different kind of student?
When I was in eighth grade, I scored the best in the state on a math exam. After that, my math teacher let me go off and do independent study and computer stuff. I also became good at relating to adults. When I’d meet a teacher, I’d say, “Hey, tell me your 10 favorite books.” I’d read them, and then I could talk to the teachers about something they knew a lot about. “