Bill Gates gives $44 million to states navigating new education law

SEATTLE (AP) — 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 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.

Critics call it meddling by a foundation with vast wealth and resources.