Here is what Desmond-Hellmann confesses, specifically regarding the Foundation’s push for the Common Core Standards: “Unfortunately, our foundation underestimated the level of resources and support required for our public education systems to be well-equipped to implement the standards. We missed an early opportunity to sufficiently engage educators—particularly teachers—but also parents and communities so that the benefits of the standards could take flight from the beginning… This has been a challenging lesson for us to absorb, but we take it to heart. The mission of improving education in America is both vast and complicated, and the Gates Foundation doesn’t have all the answers.” Desmond-Hellman also explains that the Gates Foundation is committed to evidence-based experimentation: “From the beginning, Bill and Melinda wanted their foundation to be a learning organization; one that evolves and course corrects based on evidence.”
Desmond-Hellmann doesn’t seem to question the wisdom of the foundation’s strategy, merely that the Foundation missed engaging all the stakeholders. And she seems to assume that a sort of apology will cover any worry about the collateral damage inflicted by mega-experiments, most particularly the experiments that were abandoned.