The Philanthro-Baron Has No Clothes

How mega-foundations are undermining our public schools and eating away at our democracy

Philanthro-barons like Bill Gates have more power and influence than ever before.

Reader: it is well established that the richest Americans have billions of ideas for how to improve our failed and failing public schools. In fact, by the time you finish reading this sentence, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg and the Walton family will have generated one new school improvement idea each, not to mention a substantial amount of interest on their substantial fortunes. But not everyone is convinced that the growing influence of these “philanthro-barons” over our schools and our democracy is such a great development. In a new article entitled “Plutocrats at Work” writer Joanne Barkan paints a disturbing picture of mega-philanthropy gone wild. EduShyster recently interviewed Barkan to find out why she’s so concerned about the new breed of philanthro-baron. Continue reading →

The Looming Excellence Emergency

Will the education reform movement exhaust the word “excellence” before the achievement gap is *crushed*?

Imagine a world without excellence. Experts say that with the education reform movement on schedule to exhaust the superlative as soon as 2016, an excellence-deprived future is a near guarantee. The problem, say excellence experts, is that a vast pool of corporate money has produced an excellence bubble as new groups rush to cash in on the fierce urgency of the moment. Experts say that a new education reform group is formed in the United States every 37 seconds, and that four in five of these groups are steeped in some variety of excellence. Continue reading →

Dogs for Excellence

The fortune that billionaire heiress Leona Helmsley left to the dogs is now funding education reform groups.

When last we encountered billionaire hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, she had ascended to the great hotel in the sky, leaving $12 million to her beloved Maltese, Trouble. In fact Helmsely loved dogs so much that she left the bulk of her fortune, now valued at between $5-$8 billion to the care and welfare of dogs. So you might be surprised to learn that these days Mrs. Helmsley’s vast fortune isn’t going to pamper pooches at all but to—drum roll please—reform our education system. That’s right Toto. You’re on your own while the Leona M. and Harry B. Charitable Trust writes checks to the tune of millions to groups like the Stand for Children Leadership Center and, my personal favorite, Educators for Excellence. Continue reading →