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The delicate dance between business, philanthropy and education reform

Fortune magazine's special report by Peter Elkind (available at examines the roles business and philanthropy played in developing Common Core standards for public-schools and how they responded when the widely adopted guidelines sparked a largely conservative-led backlash.

Much of the country's corporate establishment strongly backed the standards, arguing that they would improve students' reading, math, and science performance and give them the skills businesses needed to compete globally. Firms such as Intel, ExxonMobil, and General Electric directed their philanthropy to the cause, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation played a key role in crafting and implementing Common Core, which the Obama administration backed.

Elkind's report details how, after it was adopted by 45 states, Common Core came to be viewed in right-wing circles as a corporate and federal takeover of schools, embroiling its business and philanthropic supporters in a bitter political fight that saw Republican leaders withdraw support for the standards and some companies retreat from their backing.

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