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billgatesFixing the U.S. education system is harder than eradicating some of the world’s worst diseases.

That’s what Bill Gates said on Monday during a talk at the Los Alamos National Labratory, the nuclear weapons facility that does research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and is just a short drive away from the original Microsoft headquarters in Albuquerque.

Gates, who took a tour of the laboratory with his son, said that improving education in the States is the toughest challenge for his foundation, which has also invested huge amounts of money to help improve global health.

Protesters voice their disdain for Common Core standards and Bill Gates' involvement in U.S. education reform last week.
Protesters voice their disdain for Common Core standards and Bill Gates’ involvement in U.S. education reform last week.

Gates also spoke in support of the Common Core State Standards, which focus on teaching students math and language arts and has been adopted by nearly every single state. The foundation has poured in more than $200 million to have the system implemented in schools.

But as we saw last week in downtown Seattle, some teachers aren’t too happy with Common Core and how Gates is becoming more and more involved in the education space. About 150 instructors from the Badass Teacher Association marched through the city on Thursday toward the foundation’s headquarters to demonstrate their disdain for the Common Core standards, among other topics.

“We want to get corporations out of teaching,” said Tom O’Kelley, an English teacher at Tacoma’s Oakland High School. “They are trying to turn public schools into a corporate money maker and push out the voice of teachers like we have no idea what we’re doing in education. Bill Gates certainly doesn’t. He’s a college dropout. He’s a corporate money maker — that’s all he does.”

Given that he was at a nuclear reactor, Gates also mentioned TerraPower, the nuclear reactor startup backed Gates and Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures. Read more about his talk here.

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