Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Power philanthropy dominating public policy

This is a case study of a much larger trend. Nationally, it's in the area of education that what Mike Klonsky calls "power philanthropy" (and Diane Ravitch calls "the billionaire boys club"), led by Bill Gates and cheered by Arne Duncan, has really come to dominate public policy. In Washington D.C., foundations are even trying to dictate who can be the city's school superintendent. --Curtis Black on Huffington

Yesterday, I focused on the role of power philanthropists like Broad and Walton, using their power to influence election outcomes in D.C. and to protect the job of their favorite teacher basher, Michelle Rhee.

In that same vein, Chicago writer and musician Curtis Black assesses the disproportionate power of big foundations over an emergent not-for-profit media. Black takes on New York Times digital editor Jim Schachter who Black says, "has gone into full denial mode in response to Jamie Kalven's Columbia Journalism Review article raising concerns about foundation funding for nonprofit news ventures."
He [Schachter]neglects the contretemps over the NYT-CNC story on the "turnaround" of [Chicago's] Marshall High School, which didn't acknowledge the presence of a major turnaround booster, millionaire Martin Koldyke, on CNC's board.
In the coming months I hope the discussion and debate will continue around the role of the giant foundations which exert great influence over public policy, especially school reform and does it relatively free from public accountability.

Also, be sure and read Kalven's CJR piece mentioned above.

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