Bill Gates on education from his March 15, 2018 Politico Interview:
“When we started the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation, I thought global health would be the hard thing … and we’d have some really quick wins in U.S education, maybe move the math scores up 5%, maybe move the reading scores up 10%. … It’s been the opposite. That’s not to say … where we’ve gotten involved—whether it’s a public school or charter—great things have[n’t] happened. But when it comes to taking that and scaling it up and getting other schools to adopt it, or even [in] the school that we’re in … three years after we’ve been there, [the issue has been:] does it persist or does that mentoring program or teacher collaboration program … go away? We feel good about the direct intervention but … if you want to move the macro statics, you have to figure out not only good ideas that work, but good ideas that get massive adoption and there the field, including ourselves, does not have … huge success.”
I analyze the ability to improve education significantly in the chapter “Limits to Education” in my book the Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class (pages 217-242) and the difficulty of scaling programs that help those less fortunate (page 212), in an economy, like America’s, that is constrained by properly trained talent—a core argument of the book.