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AFT Says It Will No Longer Accept Gates Funding

The American Federation of Teachers, to date the recipient of more than $11 million in Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation largesse, will no longer accept Gates funding for its Innovation Fund, Politico has reported, citing increasing criticism from members.

AFT officials said the union's President, Randi Weingarten, made the announcement at the Network for Public Education conference last week in Austin, Texas. NPE is an advocacy group begun by Diane Ravitch and other critics of so-called "corporate education reform." 

Education Week took a long look at Gates funding for teacher-quality efforts last year, and at that time Weingarten hinted that pushback from members might effect a change in its willingness to accept cash from the Seattle-based philanthropy. 

The Innovation Fund supports local projects. Politico also says that the AFT will seek ways of funding the initiative through a dues surcharge, which would have to be approved by members at this year's biennial AFT convention in Los Angeles.

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