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Gates Foundation Announces $92 Million Assistance to Schools

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $92 million in assistance in a new effort to help minority and low-income students succeed.

The assistance will come in the form of grants to 19 school programs across 13 American states. Many of the programs are in areas that have struggled with poverty and student performance issues.

The foundation's announcement said the Networks for School Improvement program will center on middle and high school students. It is designed to have groups of schools work together "to identify and solve common problems" using methods that best fit their needs.

A statement said the foundation chose to invest in the schools as a way to help increase the number of black, Latino, and low-income students graduating from high school. In addition, the program is designed to prepare the students for college so they will have a better chance to "succeed in life."

The grants will address several different areas to help students succeed in the classroom and prepare for college. These include basic academic skills like math, English and other subjects. But the program will also offer help in how to deal with things like school suspensions or the college application process.

Bob Hughes leads the K-12 education program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He told reporters the organization drew heavily on past experiences when deciding on new program plans.

"We're not inventing anything in this strategy. We're taking what we learned from research and experience," Hughes said.

Allan Golston is president of the foundation's U.S. Program. In an opinion story for the education website The 74, Golston said the goal of the assistance is to help local school groups come up with their own solutions.

This Friday, April 27, 2018 photo shows the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, USA. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
This Friday, April 27, 2018 photo shows the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, USA. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

"Once each network has identified a common barrier, schools will put in place strategies to tackle the problem based on what they know about their students," he wrote.

Golston said the foundation's research shows that identifying and removing barriers faced by schools can make a great difference in how many students end up graduating.

He added that the main goal of the foundation's education program has not changed over the years. "All students, and especially low-income students and students of color, must have equal access to a great public education that prepares them for success in adulthood."

Golston said the latest assistance of $92 million is just the beginning. Over the next five years, the foundation expects to provide $460 million "to aid dozens more schools and to help tens of thousands of students get the education they deserve."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on information from the Associated Press the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other online sources. Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

grant n. amount of money provided by a government or organization for a special purpose

academic adj. related to subjects involving thinking and studying and not technical or practical skills

application n. official request for something

strategy n. plan used to achieve something

network n. system or group of connected parts

tackle v. try to deal with something difficult

access n. way of being able to use or get something

deserve v. do something or show qualities worthy of something

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