theodp writes "Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured some $5 billion into education grants and scholarships. Ten years into his record-breaking philanthropic push for school reform, the WSJ reports that Bill Gates is sober about the investment and willing to admit some missteps. 'I applaud people for coming into this space,' said Gates, 'but unfortunately it hasn't led to significant improvements.' This understanding of just how little influence seemingly large donations can have has led the foundation to rethink its focus in recent years. Instead of trying to buy systemic reform with school-level investments, a new goal is to leverage private money in a way that redirects how public education dollars are spent. Despite the good intentions, some are expressing concerns about how billionaires and the Gates Foundation rule our schools, including the lack of transparency and spotty track record of the wealthy would-be reformers. Perhaps Gates should consider funding a skunkworks educational project for retired Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, who was working on networked, self-paced computer assisted instruction in 1974 — 36 years before Bill and Google discovered Khan Academy!"