Bob Hughes Just Started the Toughest Job in K-12 Philanthropy. What's On His Plate?
Robert "Bob" Hughes recently took the helm of the K-12 funding program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — at a time when the world's largest funder looks to be in some rough waters.
Costly missteps in the foundation's education reform agenda and a growing backlash against what some see as excessive influence by wealthy philanthropists over the nation's K-12 system will mean a series of challenges for Hughes, who comes to Gates from New Visions for Public Schools, the NYC-based nonprofit where he served as president. New Visions manages dozens of NYC schools, including seven charter schools. Here are some issues and subjects that are sure to keep Hughes busy as he begins his tenure at Gates.
Gates strives to be a "learning organization," one that course corrects and transforms itself in response to empirical evidence. As Hughes adapts to his work at Gates, it will be important for him to fully understand the funder's well-publicized missteps in the K-12 arena, what factors caused those failures, and how he can steer the work in a better direction.
In a recent annual letter, Gates CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann acknowledged some hard lessons learned from the implementation of the Common Core Standards, admitting that the foundation underestimated the level of resources that would be required for successful implementation of the standards. She further admitted that Gates did not do enough to engage educators, families, and communities to generate buy-in for the standards. This lack of engagement allowed critics to take Bob Hughes Just Started the Toughest Job in K-12 Philanthropy. What's On His Plate? - Inside Philanthropy - Inside Philanthropy: