Marc Benioff sees an opportunity to build resilience in the public education system, as the raging coronavirus pandemic questions whether schools can reopen in the fall.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the massive closure of schools, with teachers and students relying heavily on remote learning.
Benioff, the billionaire chief technology officer and founder of business software giant Salesforce (CRM), is a strong advocate for public schools. He told Yahoo Finance in an interview that officials must be prepared for the crash, especially if a dreaded second wave of COVID floods the United States, which is faltering in its efforts to contain the first.
“I think we have more problems to come. And we better be ready and build that resilience now in our public education system,” said Benioff.
The 55-year-old CEO who has an estimated net worth of $ 7.6 billion is a great benefactor of public schools. Since Benioff made an impromptu visit to public schools years ago, Salesforce has adopted more than 100 public schools, and all company executives have, too.
The company’s involvement in local public schools has yielded higher math scores and an increase in underrepresented minorities and women involved in computing.
“We have given nearly $ 100 million to our San Francisco and Oakland public schools. And right now, we are about to do another great distance education grant to help all of those children get that kind of distance education that We see it happening all over the world, “said Benioff.
With the closing of schools and the change of students and teachers to online learning, Benioff realized that the public education system was full of deficiencies. Currently, she is co-chairing a California task force to examine how to make public schools successful during the crisis.
“When we closed our schools, closed our neighborhoods, and closed our cities, our teachers did not automatically go into pandemic mode, where they knew how to teach remotely,” Benioff told Yahoo Finance.
In fact, many of our children don’t even have remote access, remote broadband, or technology at home. That’s where there really is a crisis, “she added.
However, of the large sums awarded to the San Francisco and Oakland public schools, none of that money went to remote learning, something Benioff regretted and hopes to address in the near future.
“We were just working on basic math, science, and instructional materials, and getting people to attend classes and infrastructure, and making our schools great. I didn’t realize we are about to go into a pandemic, and our teachers we are going to have to go teach our children remotely, “he explained.
“So we have to go into crisis mode right now and make sure that we are there for our children, so that we can get everyone back into the educational environment,” added Benioff.