SEATTLE — In addition to the K-12 initiatives that I’ve mentioned, a major part of this new Gates Foundation strategy is to look beyond the regular public school, and towards college. The foundation’s ambitious goal: Double the number of low-income students who earn post-secondary degrees by the time they’re 26
Melinda Gates explained the move in an impassioned speech this morning: The American tradition of upward mobility is in jeopardy, she said, but college is the best bridge between poor students and good jobs.
She also explained how the foundation will work toward increasing college completion. It will experiment with performance-based scholarships that give aid as a reward for completing courses (like this successful experiment in Louisana); work closely with two-year community colleges to imagine new ways of ensuring students’ success, rather than relying on time-sucking remediation exercises; and work to create DVD’s that have lectures by “master educators,” so that if students miss a class they can watch the DVD instead.
More details on the post-secondary plan are in these prepared remarks by Hillary Pennington, a Gates Foundation official who is scheduled to speak about the college plan.
The foundation has also put up both of its strategic plans (PDFs) — one for the high school work and one for post-secondary — online here.