Not content with shaping education directly through schools, the biggest player in the school-reform movement has an eye on moving education policy.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent around $200 million a year on grants to elementary and secondary education. Now, the foundation is taking unprecedented steps to spend millions to influence the way the federal government distributes nearly $5 billion in “Race to the Top” grants to overhaul public schools.

President Barack Obama persuaded Congress to give him the money as part of the economic stimulus package so he could try new ideas to fix an education system that


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