'This Week' Transcript: The Giving Pledge

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M GATES: We talked to about 10 teachers who were willing to be videoed in the public school system in Memphis. And they say -- and some of them have been teachers for a long time. And they say, "Watch my video with me." And you sit down and watch the video, and they say, "Look at this. I was doing great teaching this lesson. And look when I lost that boy in the back of the classroom. Look at when I lost that girl.""I needed to let the kids have a break at that point. I needed to teach my lesson in a slightly different way. And I'm showing it to my other peer teacher to compare our lessons." They want to change the craft of their teaching and get better. And that, I think, is remarkable.

AMANPOUR: And does it trouble you that in terms of where American students are, in terms of university graduation, that they're now -- we've gone from 1, now down to 12 over the last several years?

M. GATES: You know, if you say, OK, of all the kids that start in 9th grade in high school in the United States, you say, literally, only one-third are ready to go on and succeed in college. We're leaving behind two-thirds of our U.S. kids in the public school system. That, to me, speaks right there to what the problem is that's broken. And it's got to be fixed. You can't have a democracy where only a third of the kids participate. And that's why we're so focused on the issue.

AMANPOUR: you talk about democracies which obviously there are elected officials who are meant to be taking care of these kinds of things. Are you stepping in because our democracy is failing in this regard?

B. GATES: No. There's been a history in the United States for several centuries now where an approach that's more innovative requires some extra funding to get going. and so the idea of charter schools at first they required extra money and some of these new curriculum approaches require extra money. The work to measure effective teachers, to pay for the videos that Melinda talked about, they're not going to take that out of their normal funds. So maybe they should have more experimental money, but they don't. So the role of philanthropy is to make that possible. Now, they get to decide which of these things really work. And they get to apply the big dollars, which is their regular spending on students, so our role is catalytic to let them see new approaches.

WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AROUND THE WORLD THEIR FOCUS IS ON DEVELOPING AND DELIVERING VACCINES FOR DISEASES THAT EFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. IN FACT, THEY'VE POURED IN NEARLY $15 BILLION DOLLARS.

AMANPOUR: you're hoping to develop an AIDS vaccine. Do you really believe that that's possible?

M. GATES: We think in our lifetime we will get an AIDS vaccine. It's not an easy problem, but you have to work upstream. The only way we're ever really going to get at AIDS is with a vaccine. We might get an interim tool for women that they can use, a drug, a pill that they could use to keep them from contracting AIDS, but if you want to solve AIDS, you can't just treat all the people with it you've got to get vaccine.

THE FOUNDATION'S PHILOSOPHY IS THAT YOU MUST TAKE HIGH RISKS IN ORDER TO REAP HIGH RETURNS, SO THE GATES FOUNDATION FUNDS CUTTING EDGE AND EXPERIMENTAL VENTURES THAT GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES BEHOLDEN TO TAXPAYERS MAY NOT.

AMANPOUR: What is it about the foundation and how you back ideas that you think you can do that where so many others have failed?

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