The Common Core State Standards had a tumultuous year across many states in 2014, but Microsoft founder Bill Gates – among the biggest proponents of the standards – was undeterred in his support, according to grant information reported by the Washington Post.
The Post named the 15 largest education grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, two of which were made to organizations focused heavily on promoting the controversial K-12 standards.
The Gates Foundation gave a $10.3 million grant to the Washington, D.C.-based New Venture Fund and another grant of $3.4 million to the San Francisco-based WestEd.
Neither organization immediately responded to inquiries from TheBlaze.
The Post described the New Venture Fund’s purpose as "to support the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and related assessments through comprehensive and targeted communications and advocacy in key states and the District of Columbia.”
The Gates' $10.3 million grant was made in May; the foundation also made several other smaller grants throughout the year, totaling nearly $3 million.
The purpose of WestEd is described as more narrow — to support “teacher practice networks” in California and nationally. The Post reported that the Gates Foundation established the networks so teachers could form networks to share Common Core resources and lessons.
Gates has been credited by some and blamed by others for the spread of Common Core, which was initially adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia. Since then, several states have repealed Common Core altogether, while others are making changes to the testing or are reviewing the standards.
Though Common Core is not a federal program, much of the controversy erupted after the U.S. Department of Education made “Race to the Top” grants in part contingent on adopting the standards.
Gates also contributed millions toward charter schools and to higher education, according to the Post.