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Bill Gates' Letter Focuses on Teaching, Online Learning

If you have any question about where the Gates Foundation is going with its grantmaking, you can ask Bill Gates himself. OK, well, maybe you can't ask him directly. But you can read his annual letter, which came out this week.

The letter covers all the foundation's grantmaking areas, but the education stuff is on pages 8 and 9. It focuses on two chunks: improving teaching, and the role online education can play in improving student learning. (He went big-time for the teacher-effectiveness theme in his letter last year, too.)

When it restructured its grantmaking in 2008, the foundation also talked a lot about improving college readiness among high school students and boosting the number of college degrees. The philanthropy's overarching education strategy outlines its thoughts in those areas. Gates doesn't discuss those in his letter, but makes it clear that he believes focusing on better teaching—not school size or structure, as in its previous grantmaking strategies—is the key to high school improvement.

He talked about some of this stuff with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show this week, too.

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