Algebra 1 is one of the most important on-track indicators of students’ future success. Today, Algebra 1 serves as a gatekeeper, rather than a gateway, to future success. In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s first-ever U.S. education Grand Challenge, Balance the Equation, we sought to identify partners to design solutions to make Algebra 1 more accessible, relevant, and collaborative for students who are Black, Latino, English Learners, and/or experiencing poverty. The goal was to encourage new ideas with promise to accelerate student learning toward mastery of Algebra 1 by the end of 9th grade.
In early 2021, we announced an initial group of 15 grantees that received $100,000 to develop, test, and refine their solutions to make Algebra 1 more accessible, relevant, and collaborative for Black, Latino, English Learners, and students experiencing poverty. Phase 1 awardees then could apply for up to $1 million support in Phase 2.
Now, in August 2021, we are announcing a total of 11 grantees representing a diverse and impressive cohort of organizations that will receive up to $1 million to put their ideas into action. Nine of these 11 organizations chosen are minority-led and roughly 45% of them were first-time grantees to the foundation.