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I’ve made another timeline, this one documenting “The History of the Gates Foundation.” At first, I’d planned to just outline some of the major events that underscored the Gates’ efforts to reshape education policy in the United States, but the project has grown a bit larger than that.

Although the Gates Foundation is required to post its financials annually, the contents of its annual reports has changed over time – no surprise, they contain much less information than when the Foundation first launched. (These days, they focus on revenue and expenditures rather than funding ideology. The latter is now part of Bill and Melinda Gates’ “Annual Letter.”)

So as I went through each year’s financials, I found myself learning less and less about what the Gates Foundation was funding. As a result, I felt compelled to pull a list – to the best of my ability at least – of the foundation’s education grants.

Note: This timeline is incomplete. I know I am missing important personnel changes, for starters. And it only looks at the foundation’s influence in US education (not its work in global health).

What I think this timeline (and the rest of my research on this project) demonstrates nonetheless: how much this organization has shaped education policy over the last decade. Common Core. Measurement of Effective Teaching. MOOCs. Redesigning high school. Personalized Learning.

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Audrey Watters


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