Gates Foundation agenda prompts questions
| Jul 12, 2010
Across the country, public education is in the midst of a quiet revolution. States are embracing voluntary national standards for English and math, while schools are paying teachers based on student performance. It's an agenda propelled, in part, by a flood of money from a Seattle billionaire prep-school graduate best known for his software empire: Bill Gates. In the past 2 1/2 years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than $650 million to schools, public agencies and other groups that buy into its main education priorities.
It is unclear whether philanthropy — even a charity led by one of the world's richest men — can find large-scale solutions to problems that have beset schools for generations. But what is certain is that Gates grants have become a leading currency for a particular kind of education change. That agenda has won praise from the Obama administration and others, while prompting questions from some about the foundation's pervasive presence and its emphasis on performance measures. Read more in The Seattle Times online.