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Bill Gates spent $44M to reform state education: report

Bill Gates spent $44M to reform state education: report

Bill Gates's charitable organization has given $44 million to outside groups over the past two years in an effort to help shape individual states' education plans, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. 

The spending by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation went to research supportive of Gates's interests, bought positive media coverage and helped give the organization a say in Tennessee's new education framework, according to the AP story.

The spending began after then-President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015.

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That measure allowed states to write the frameworks for their own education systems, and receive federal funding for sticking to those frameworks. But it also required a set of academic standards, which for most states is Common Core.

Gates has been a vocal advocate for Common Core standards, and, according to the AP, has sought to promote those standards as states work to write their education plans.

For example, the leader of an advocacy group funded by Gates sat on an important advisory committee in Tennessee as the state sought to develop its new education plan, the AP reported. 

Gates also gave money to a media outlet to cover ESSA. That media outlet later published a story about research paid for by Gates, according to the AP. 

Opponents of Common Core and Gates's influence said the spending by the Microsoft co-founder's philanthropy amounts to meddling in state education. 

The Gates Foundation's spending on education reform in the U.S. amounts to a small part of its overall work, which primarily focuses on global health and international development. But according to the AP, it is the top funder of school reform in the country.