FromThe New York Times: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its biggest education donation in a decade, $290 million, in support of three school districts and five charter groups working to transform how teachers are evaluated and how they get tenure. In addition, a separate $45 million research initiative will study 3,700 classroom teachers in six cities to answer the question that has puzzled investigators for decades: What, exactly, makes a good teacher effective? The twin projects represent a rethinking of the foundation’s education strategy, previously focused largely on smaller grants intended to remake troubled American high schools. The foundation committed $100 million to the Hillsborough County (Fla.) district; $90 million to the Memphis district; and $40 million to the Pittsburgh district. About $60 million will go to five charter management organizations based in Los Angeles.