The Associated Press reported this morning that Bill Gates has poured millions into trying to influence state plans required under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
AP’s Sally Ho writes:
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates saw an opportunity with a new federal education law that has widespread repercussions for American classrooms.
His non-profit, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has given about $44 million to outside groups over the past two years to help shape new state education plans required under the 2015 law, according to an Associated Press analysis of its grants. The spending paid for research aligned with Gates interests, led to friendly media coverage and even had a hand in writing one state’s new education system framework.
The grants illustrate how strategic and immersive the Microsoft founder can be in pursuit of his education reform agenda, quietly wielding national influence over how schools operate. Gates’ carefully curated and intersecting web of influence is often invisible but allows his foundation to drive the conversation in support of its vision on how to reshape America’s struggling schools systems.
Critics call it meddling by a foundation with vast wealth and resources. The Gates Foundation says it’s simply helping states navigate a “tectonic” shift in responsibility for education — from the federal government to more local control.
We call it meddling because it is. My gosh, it must be nice to be able to buy education policy. Since the millions and millions of dollars he poured into Common Core was a colossal waste he thought he would try to be more influential at the state level.
I wish educrats would use the critical thinking skills they believe Common Core will impart to students and ask one simple question. Have Gates-funded reforms have actually worked?
Largely no, but they have dollar signs in their eyes. It’s hard to say no to that cash and Gates has plenty of it.