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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

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

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

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

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

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

"Gathering Feedback for Teachers: Combining High-Quality Observations with Student Surv... - 1 views

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    This study examined five instruments used to assess the effectiveness of teacher practices based on classroom observations. The study first examined whether observers could reliably assess teachers with each instrument, and then examined how well each instrument, along with other information, predicted student achievement.
Jeff Bernstein

Duncan, Rhee starring at our-hearts-belong-to-data summit - The Answer Sheet - The Wash... - 0 views

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    The data summit is part of the Data Quality Campaign, which is a national effort by dozens of organizations and funded by grants and contributions from a variety of foundations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, AT&T, and the Birth to Five Policy Alliance.

    The campaign, the website says, works to "encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement."

    There's nothing wrong and there can be a lot right with using high-quality education data to improve achievement, of course, but data can never be the whole story. Ensuring that data is high quality, knowing how to use it - and understanding its limitations - is still not the science. A lot of the data we have is junk, but we use it to inform important decisions anyway.
Jeff Bernstein

In New Jersey, nonprofit at center of education conflict | Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/1... - 0 views

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    New Jersey education officials had a dilemma last summer: Following the approval of a record number of charter schools, questions were flying about how closely the applications had been screened.

    With more prospective charters lining up, acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, a former charter executive, bought in help - a move that proved controversial.

    The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a Chicago nonprofit, had offered to fly in 14 consultants to lead Department of Education staff in the next approval round, looking toward overhauling the entire process.

    What was particularly enticing was that the association could arrange funding through the Newark Charter School Fund, a nonprofit backed by the same philanthropies that support the association, including the Walton Family Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jeff Bernstein

New advocacy group with city roots enters state's reform fray | GothamSchools - 0 views

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    The latest entrant into New York's crowded field of education advocacy groups won't immediately be lobbying for new policies in New York City.

    Instead, the new nationally-backed group, New York Campaign for Achievement Now, or NYCAN, plans to push for a law that would enable parents to vote on ways to improve their struggling district schools. The policy was backed heavily by upstate New York reform groups last year, but a proposed bill did in the state legislature failed to garner enough support.

    The policy, known as parent trigger is at the top of NYCAN's 2012 legislative agenda, which the group released today as part of its official launch.

Jeff Bernstein

Another Player Enters New York's Advocacy Arena - SchoolBook - 0 views

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    A new well-financed player has jumped into the debate over education reform in New York State, and already the sparks have begun to fly.

    The New York Campaign for Achievement Now, or NYCAN, has launched its Web site, and its executive director, Christine Grant, said it has raised $1.2 million from such entities as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
Jeff Bernstein

Belling the Cats of Corporate Education Reform in 2011 - Living in Dialogue - Education... - 1 views

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    This year, the gloves came off, as teachers faced unprecedented attacks on our right to collective bargaining, as well as continued attempts to tie our pay and job security to test scores. Some of these attacks were blatant, as in Wisconsin, but most were veiled behind a cloak of rhetoric about education reform. Today I want to review some of the posts that attempted to bell the corporate education reform cat.
Jeff Bernstein

Susan Sawyers: GiftED: Private Money, Public Schools - 0 views

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    With the season of giving and receiving is upon us, I've rounded up a few foundation/education stories. The first and second links are about influence. Note that the last three stories pretty much have the same headlines. As does this post.
Jeff Bernstein

Diane Ravitch Criticizes Gates Foundation On Education - 0 views

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    New York University Professor Diane Ravitch is one of the nation's most prominent critics of the Gates Foundation's approach to education reform - including merit pay for teachers. Ravitch claims, "The movement Bill Gates has launched has created enormous hostility toward teachers." We'll find out why she thinks the Gates Foundation has it wrong on education reform, and what she thinks needs to be done instead.
Jeff Bernstein

Gates' Agenda and Money Shape City Schools - 0 views

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    At the start of NBC's Education Nation extravaganza last month host Brian Williams introduced and praised one of the funders of the event, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    For the reformers, teachers, parents and politicians at Education Nation, the refrain was a familiar one. The Gates Foundation, Williams continued, is "the largest single funder of education anywhere in the world. It's their facts that we're going to be referring to often to help along our conversation."
Jeff Bernstein

Stand for Children, School Board Races, Washington State PTA and charter schools | Seat... - 0 views

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    As I previously posted in Stand for Children Stands for the Rich and Powerful, Stand for Children (SFC) has proudly declared by way of its' co-founder  and Chief Executive Officer, Jonah Edelman, that he was successful in busting the teachers' union in Chicago and he plans to do that again in the state of Washington. He has led the fight in other states by his own admonition in a video taped session during a seminar at the Aspen Institute, for "pension reform", meaning cutting back on pensions or eliminating them altogether, and a teacher's evaluation based on a student's test scores.
Jeff Bernstein

Boston approves historic pact with charter schools - The Boston Globe - 0 views

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    The Boston School Committee approved a historic agreement last night to establish greater cooperation between the city and independent charter schools, in an effort to provide more students across the city with a stronger education.

    A key component of the agreement calls for the city's school system and the more than dozen charter schools - autonomous public schools overseen by the state - to share innovative educational practices that are getting results in boosting student achievement.
Jeff Bernstein

For or Against Children? The Problematic History of Stand for Children - 0 views

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    Last October, a friend called with a question: "What do you know about Stand for Children?" The advocacy organization, based in our hometown of Portland, Ore., was expanding into his state of Illinois, and he hoped to glean some insight into the kinds of reforms the group would support. Just two months later, Stand's Illinois branch had amassed more than $3 million in a political action committee and unveiled an aggressive teacher evaluation bill.
Jeff Bernstein

California charter school association gets $15-million gift - latimes.com - 0 views

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    The grant is the largest yet to the California charter schools group and the biggest of its kind from the nonprofit set up by the founders of the Wal-Mart Corp.
Jeff Bernstein

Education Week Teacher: Anger Erupts as Non-Traditional Hires Edge Out Experienced Teac... - 0 views

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    When Memphis City Schools accepted millions of dollars from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness, it agreed to tap new pipelines for attracting teachers.
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