Near the sign-in desk of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Seattle office, an old proverb is written across a long hallway. It reads: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It’s fitting that these words are so prominently displayed, because they perfectly capture how we work and think at the foundation. Partnership and collaboration are, and always have been, central to our work – whether that’s working with other organizations to address global health and development challenges, or to improve public education here in the United States.
I walk past the proverb almost every day, but seeing it again after the holiday break felt particularly timely. That’s because this week our K-12 team is taking the next step in our strategy – releasing a Request for Proposal to form – and our foundation to support– the first cohort of secondary Networks for School improvement, a key element of our K-12 work that Bill Gates announced last fall in a speech to urban district leaders.
As Bill described in