Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics

Paperback | January 15, 2015

bySarah Reckhow

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Some of the nation's wealthiest philanthropic organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Broad Foundation, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in education reform. With vast wealth and a political agenda, these foundationshave helped to reshape the reform landscape in urban education. In Follow the Money, Sarah Reckhow shows where and how foundation investment in education is occurring and provides a penetrating analysis of the effects of these investments in the two largest urban districts in the United States: NewYork City and Los Angeles. In New York City, centralized political control and the use of private resources have enabled rapid implementation of reform proposals. Yet this potent combination of top-down authority and outside funding also poses serious questions about transparency, responsiveness, and democratic accountabilityin New York. Furthermore, the sustainability of reform policies is closely linked to the political fortunes of the current mayor and his chosen school leader. While the media has highlighted the efforts of forceful reformers and dominating leaders such as Joel Klein in New York City and MichelleRhee in Washington, D.C., a slower, but possibly more transformative, set of reforms have been taking place in Los Angeles. These reforms were also funded and shaped by major foundations, but they work from the bottom up, through charter school operators managing networks of schools. This strategyhas built grassroots political momentum and demand for reform in Los Angeles that is unmatched in New York City and other districts with mayoral control. Reckhow's study of Los Angeles's education system shows how democratically responsive urban school reform could occur-pairing foundationinvestment with broad grassroots involvement. Bringing a sharp analytical eye and a wealth of evidence to one of the most politicized issues of our day, Follow the Money will reshape our thinking about educational reform in America.

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From the Publisher

Some of the nation's wealthiest philanthropic organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Broad Foundation, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in education reform. With vast wealth and a political agenda, these foundationshave helped to reshape the reform landscape in...

Sarah Reckhow is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:236 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:January 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190227346

ISBN - 13:9780190227340

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Boardroom Progressives1. Accountability, Markets, and the Philanthropic Agenda2. Following the Money from Foundations to Urban School Districts3. From Annenberg to Gates4. A Shadow Bureaucracy5. Deliberative DecentralizationConclusions and ImplicationsAppendix A: Top 15 Grant-makers to K-12 Education, 2000 and 2005Appendix B: Grant Recipient CategoriesAppendix C: Explanation of DataAppendix D: SurveysReferencesNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This fascinating, exhaustively researched, and important book traces the growing scope and impact of philanthropic money in education politics and policymaking, a topic that has been the subject of much speculation but little systematic research to date... Unlike many education scholars, sheemploys a multi-method research design that incorporates large-scale data analysis, detailed case studies, surveys, interviews, and social network analysis. This approach has enabled her to craft a nuanced and multi-faceted analysis of foundation influence and impact and created a rich new trove ofdata that will be invaluable to other scholars." --Perspectives on Politics