As you might know, there is an increasingly critical national conversation developing around the state of education in the United States. This conversation is happening at all levels of American life, from the White House to the local school district. As kids are heading back to school, you likely have even had to make some decisions about the path they take – not all of them easy and many of them might have seemed like compromises. There is consensus on one thing – that we must do more as a nation to support our schools, our teachers and our students.
A few months ago, I asked the team what Bing could do to help the conversation along. As a first step, today we are launching an initiative and website called REDU. Located at http://www.bing.com/redu, this is a site we built to help people come and get informed, involved, and connected to challenges, opportunities, and activities focused on improving education in our country. It’s meant to be a place people can go online to get a pretty comprehensive picture of what is going on in the education debate, allow them to join the conversation and to find ways to take action and make a difference. So whether you’re an educator, parent, student or simply just care about the state of education in America, you are invited to join the conversation at bing.com/redu.
Why would Bing do something like this? Well, to begin with, Microsoft has a long history of involvement in education. We have focused as a company on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, math), we have focused on access to technology for more than a decade, and we continue to try to help empower students and teachers to do great things under our programs like Unlimited Potential and Partners in Learning. So we have a strong heritage in education and in giving back to our communities.
But we thought we could do more. At Bing, we believe our mission is to empower people with knowledge and help them make better decisions. Search is in many ways about connecting people to the world’s possibilities via the Internet, and no decision is more important than ensuring children get access to a great education.
So it was a natural fit to us to look for a way to participate in this developing conversation.
Bing.com/REDU is designed to be a place to keep up to date with what’s going on in the education dialog. It will give you a place to see, learn and discuss how this critical issue is evolving. We will celebrate great teaching and programs and highlight the ways all of us can help improve education in America, whether you have kids or not. And we will ensure that there are great resources on the site for you to take action – whether it’s learning how to become a teacher, giving money, volunteering at a local school, finding tools and curricula or getting involved in the policy debate – REDU is designed to be the place you can come to take the action you want to have an impact.
Microsoft as a company will do more. This year, education is a major focus for our Corporate Citizenship work, and you will see lots of other activity across the education spectrum – policy, product, employee giving, volunteerism, and programs like Unlimited Potential, the Imagine Cup, Partners in Learning, and more – education is the rallying cry for Microsoft’s community involvement around the world.
I encourage you to visit REDU and tell us what you think, and give us feedback as to what other types of content and resources you want to see to make REDU better and more useful as a place to learn, get motivated and take action on this most pressing issue.
At the end of the day, we were all students once who were inspired by great teachers and so many of us here on the team are parents with kids in school today. As the team and I got into the data around education, it seemed like helping to champion improvements for our kids was a great extension of our work on Bing, and more, something we felt was an imperative. Everyone on the Bing team believes deeply that every child deserves a great education. We’ve had a great first year at Bing, and we wanted to do something to give back this year, to do some good in our quest to do well as a business. Bing’s REDU initiative is committed to helping galvanize an online community to get educated and get involved and help propel US education forward. Like Bing, REDU is a small step forward in an important direction and we welcome your feedback and thoughts as we improve over the years to come.
Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President, Online Services Division
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