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Jeff Bernstein

Plutocrats at Work: How Big Philanthropy Undermines Democracy | Dissent Magazine - 0 views

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    "For a dozen years, big philanthropy has been funding a massive crusade to remake public education for low-income and minority children in the image of the private sector. If schools were run like businesses competing in the market-so the argument goes-the achievement gap that separates poor and minority students from middle-class and affluent students would disappear. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation have taken the lead, but other mega-foundations have joined in to underwrite the self-proclaimed "education reform movement." Some of them are the Laura and John Arnold, Anschutz, Annie E. Casey, Michael and Susan Dell, William and Flora Hewlett, and Joyce foundations."
Jeff Bernstein

Doris and Donald Fisher Education Giving, 2003-2011 - ken m libby - 0 views

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    Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the GAP clothing company, began contributing to education-related causes through various philanthropic organizations in the late 1990s. The Doris and Donald Fisher Fund is the current foundation, although it was formerly known as the Doris and Donald Fisher Education Fund, is still sometimes abbreviated as D2F2, and earlier was known as the Pisces Foundation.

    The Fishers were early supporters of Edison Schools, and have been major supporters of KIPP and Teach for America. Although I cannot find some of the Fisher's earliest IRS 990s, the family also supported a young organization, The New Teacher Project, founded by Michelle Rhee. As noted on the Fisher's 2011 Form 990, the foundation contributed $250,000 to Rhee's newest organization, StudentsFirst.

    I gathered Form 990s for the fiscal years ending in 2003 through 2011, and pulled information about contributions made during each of those years. You can find all of these Form 990s through Guidestar.org or Foundation Center's 990 Finder. You can see the information I pulled in an Excel file on my Data page or check out the results below.
Jeff Bernstein

Education Week: The Changing Face of Education Advocacy: Trickel Down - 0 views

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    A number of prominent foundations have supported the charitable wings of national education advocacy groups. The engagement of philanthropies in policy advocacy is a relatively recent phenomenon that roughly parallels such education groups' expansion over the past decade. This list details three foundations' investments; it is not a comprehensive list of all private foundation contributions, nor does it include local, public, or community charities' contributions.
Jeff Bernstein

Who's Killing Philly Public Schools? | Philadelphia City Paper | 05/03/2012 - 0 views

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    Thomas Knudsen, the man who was temporarily put in charge of Philadelphia schools in January, was running late to last Monday's press conference.

    He had been delivering the same presentation all day, and doomsday rumors had already leaked: The plan he was about to lay out would dismantle the central office and parcel out school management, at least in part, to private companies.

    Knudsen, paid $150,000 to hold the newly created post of Chief Recovery Officer through June, made a point of shaking the hand of every single reporter in the room before beginning his presentation. "Philadelphia public schools is not the school district," he announced, laying out the five-year plan before the School Reform Commission (SRC). "There's a redefinition, and we'll get to that later."

    He got to it, using terms like "portfolios," "modernization," "right-sizing," "entrepreneurialism" and "competition." In short, it was a plan to shutter 40 schools next year, and an additional six every year thereafter until 2017. The remaining schools would be herded into "achievement networks" of 20 to 30 schools; public and private groups would compete to manage the networks. And the central office would be reduced to a skeleton crew of about 200. (About 1,000-plus positions existed in 2010, and district HQ has already eliminated more than a third of those.) Charter schools, the plan projects, would teach an estimated 40 percent of students by 2017.
Jeff Bernstein

Reading program to expand - 0 views

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    A rare collaboration between charter schools and traditional public schools will expand to five more urban schools next year.

    The Learning Community, a charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade serving primarily low-income children from Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence, is receiving $1.8 million to expand its nationally recognized reading program, free of charge to the selected Rhode Island schools.
Jeff Bernstein

Rhode Island Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation make $1.8 Million Commitment to The... - 0 views

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    The Rhode Island Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation today announced grants totaling $1.8 million to expand The Learning Community's nationally-recognized professional development work in reading for free to five area public elementary schools. The Learning Community, one of Rhode Island's highest performing high poverty schools, has received national recognition for its partnership with the Central Falls school district, where reading scores increased through innovative, proven strategies for boosting reading achievement.  
Jeff Bernstein

Alan Singer: Beware the Education-Industrial Complex | History News Network - 0 views

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    In the speech, Eisenhower warned the American people of the growing power of a "military-industrial complex," an alliance of the military with defense contractors that he saw as a threat to democracy.

    Democracy in the United States is now under a similar assault from an education-foundation-political-industrial complex. This complex takes many forms, but its primary goal is to shape state and federal educational policy in a way that maximizes private corporate profits.
Jeff Bernstein

Daily Kos: The Bully Politics of Education Reform - 0 views

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    While the bullying can be witnessed in the discourse coming from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former-chancellor Michelle Rhee, and billionaire-reformer Bill Gates, one of the most corrosive and powerful dynamics embracing bully politics is the rise of self-appointed think-tank entities claiming to evaluate and rank teacher education programs. A key player in bully politics is the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

    NCTQ represents, first, the rise of think tanks and the ability of those think tanks to mask their ideologies while receiving disproportionate and unchallenged support from the media.

    Think tanks have adopted the format and pose of scholarship, producing well crafted documents filled with citations and language that frame ideology as "fair and balanced" conclusions drawn from the evidence.

    Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Jeff Bernstein

Funding a Movement: U.S. Department of Education Pours Millions into Groups Advocating ... - 0 views

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    Over the past three years, more than $75 million in federal education funding has been diverted to just a handful of private, pro-voucher advocacy groups. This torrent of public funding appears to benefit and strengthen the advocacy infrastructure created by a network of right-wing foundations dedicated to the privatization of public education.  
Jeff Bernstein

The Pattern on the Rug - Bridging Differences - Education Week - 1 views

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    There comes a time when you look at the rug on the floor, the one you've seen many times, and you see a pattern that you had never noticed before. You may have seen this squiggle or that flower, but you did not see the pattern into which the squiggles and flowers and trails of ivy combined.

    In American education, we can now discern the pattern on the rug.

    Consider the budget cuts to schools in the past four years. From the budget cuts come layoffs, rising class sizes, less time for the arts and physical education, less time for history, civics, foreign languages, and other non-tested subjects. Add on the mandates of No Child Left Behind, which demands 100 percent proficiency in math and reading and stigmatizes more than half the public schools in the nation as "failing" for not reaching an unattainable goal.

    Along comes the Obama administration with the Race to the Top, and the pattern on the rug gets clearer.
Jeff Bernstein

Deep-Pocket Reformers: The Shadow Secretaries of Education | USC News21 - 0 views

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    In advancing some interests, foundations have inevitably not advanced others. Hence, their actions must have political consequences, even when political purposes are not avowed or even intended. To avoid politics in dealing with foundation history is to miss a crucial part of the story. -Ellen Lagemann, Private Power for the Public Good

    When Microsoft magnate Bill Gates decided a decade ago that the "solution" to what he saw as America's failing school systems was an expansion of smaller schools, he started writing checks, a whole lot of checks, totaling more than $2 billion.  
    Gates is not the only billionaire who has decided to make education reform one of his pet projects. Los Angeles-based developer Eli Broad, the mega-rich Walton family (founders of Walmart) and other philanthropists currently give some $4 billion a year in contributions to education.
    But these handouts are hardly purely philanthropic. They come tied with policy strings and a well-defined agenda.
    While not the only donors, Gates, Broad and the Waltons have emerged as the highest-profile deep-pocket benefactors of what has become a nationwide education reform movement.
Jeff Bernstein

Joanne Barkan: Hired Guns on Astroturf: How to Buy and Sell School Reform - 0 views

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    If you want to change government policy, change the politicians who make it. The implications of this truism have now taken hold in the market-modeled "education reform movement." As a result, the private funders and nonprofit groups that run the movement have overhauled their strategy. They've gone political as never before-like the National Rifle Association or Big Pharma or (ed reformers emphasize) the teachers' unions.
Jeff Bernstein

Jersey Jazzman: How To Convince Me the Merit Pay Fairy Is Real: - 0 views

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    So when St. Michele of Arc decided the kids of Washington D.C. weren't worth her time anymore, her wealthy patrons decided to split as well, leaving the district holding the bag. The IMPACT bonuses, by the way, never worked, despite Rhee's continuing insistence that they did; Matt DiCarlo takes her claims down quite nicely.

    So now the district is stuck picking up the costs for a merit pay system that never had research to back it up; simply because the Billionaire Boys Club - for which Rhee is the mascot - had a change of heart. What will happen, do you suppose, when they cool on charter schools?
Jeff Bernstein

Walton Foundation Releases Details of Grants to Shape K-12 Education in 2011 | Edwize - 0 views

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    Now that the full list has been released, the evidence confirms that many organizations active in New York City and New York State received large grants from the Waltons last year - including a million-dollar grant to Eva Moskowitz's Success Charter Network, listed under the Foundation's efforts to "Shape Public Policy." The huge amounts in play here (over $159 million nationally in 2011 alone) should give pause to those concerned about the influence of corporate money in school reform in our community.
Jeff Bernstein

Why Some People Like TFA Somewhat Less Than Others Do | Gary Rubinstein's Blog - 0 views

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    A recent post by one of the most thoughtful TFA bloggers on this site was called 'Don't Hate Me Because I'm TFA.'  In it, Tony B responds to another blogger that I think is great, Katie Osgood, from Chicago.  What people who have just begun following the education debate in this country might be surprised about is the 'hating' of TFA is something that has only recently become a phenomenon.

    A new TFAer might be confused about why she could be 'hated.'  After all, all she's trying to do is do her part, give back, be a front-line soldier in the war against the achievement gap.  What could be so bad about that?
Jeff Bernstein

No Funds Left Behind - 0 views

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    As states slash education budgets, private foundations have picked up the slack-and pushed some controversial reforms.
Jeff Bernstein

Walton Family Foundation Invests $159 Million in K12 Education Reform in 2011 - 0 views

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    The foundation invested more than $159 million in education reform initiatives in 2011, marking the largest single-year investment in education reform initiatives. Grants were made to organizations and programs that empower parents, particularly in low-income communities, to choose among quality, publicly funded schools for their children. The foundation invests to expand the right of all parents to have access to quality schools, regardless of type, with the goal of ultimately increasing student achievement.

    List of grants can be found at http://waltonfamilyfoundation.org/2011-education-reform-grant-list
Jeff Bernstein

With A Brooklyn Accent: My Letter to an Idealistic, Young Teach for America Corps Membe... - 0 views

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    My comments will focus on the role TFA has played in union busting and wage compression in the public sector. In the last few years TFA has encouraged,or at least passively accepted, a pattern of school districts firing veteran teachers and replacing them with TFA corps members.
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » A Look At The Education Programs Of The Gates Foundation - 0 views

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    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization involved in public education. Their flexible capital allows the foundation to change course, experiment and take on tasks that would be problematic for other organizations.

    Although the foundation's education programs have been the subject of both praise and controversy, one area in which they deserve a great deal of credit is transparency. Unlike most other foundations, which provide a bare minimum, time-lagged account of their activities, Gates not only provides a description of each grant on its annually-filed IRS 990-PF forms, but it also maintains a continually updated list of grants posted on the foundation's website. This nearly real-time outlet provides the public with information about grants months before the foundation is required to do so.

    The purpose of this post is to provide descriptive information about programmatic support and changes between 2008 and 2010. These are the three years for which information is currently available.
Jeff Bernstein

The Louisiana Boardmember - 0 views

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    Summer 2011

    Be sure to read the article on Following the Charter Dollars
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