Inside Philanthropy: The Scariest Trends

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

David Callahan wrote an insightful article in “Inside Philanthropy” about something that most of us have noticed: the growing power of foundations that use their money to impose their ideas and bypass democratic institutions. In effect, mega-foundations like Gates and Walton use their vast wealth to short circuit democracy.

Callahan identifies five scary trends but they all boil down to the same principle: Unaccountable power is supplanting democracy.

He writes:

“1. The growing push to convert wealth into power through philanthropy

“Look at nearly any sector of U.S. society, and you’ll find private funders wielding growing power. Most dramatic has been the reshaping of public education by philanthropists like Gates and the Waltons, but the footprint of private money has also grown when it comes to healthcare, the environment, the economy, social policy, science, and the arts.

“Whether you agree or disagree with the specific views pushed by private funders…

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Community Colleges: The Neglected but Worthy Stepchildren of American Education

Kiersten Marek:

Wow, really great food for thought. We need to do more to support community colleges.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In this excellent article in the New York Times about the plight of community colleges, Ginia Bellafante shows the dramatic disparity in fund-raising between community colleges and other sectors of American education. The wealthiest benefactors and philanthropists shower millions on their alma mater, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, but the alumni of community colleges are unlikely to be billionaires. The hedge funders shower millions on charter schools, but ignore community colleges, which serve twice as many students but are not as chic as charter schools.

And yet which institution is there for the least affluent members of our society? Which institutions offer a ladder into the middle class for children of poverty?

Bellafante’s article begins:

Last year at its annual gala, LaGuardia Community College, arguably the most ethnically diverse college in the country, honored Marilyn Skony Stamm, the chief executive of a global heating and air-conditioning business. A child…

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Filling a Gap: This Billionaire Couple Steps Up for Early Childhood As Federal Cuts Loom – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Sam Zell is a Chicago businessman with a fortune of nearly $5 billion. His wife Helen is a philanthropist with wide interests and liberal views. The couple has been stepping up their giving, and we watch them closely, although we’re often struck by the inscrutability of the Zell Family Foundation’s giving, and always on the lookout for clues as to where the Zells’ philanthropy is going.

via Filling a Gap: This Billionaire Couple Steps Up for Early Childhood As Federal Cuts Loom – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Why is Capital One Funding Workforce Development in Health Care? – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

The Bronx is a tough part of New York. More than 30 percent of Bronx residents live below the federal poverty line and unemployment is well above the national average, especially for young people of color. That’s why it’s so important that funders like Capital One Foundation are investing in workforce training, to help people get on the first rung of the employment ladder in health care.

via Why is Capital One Funding Workforce Development in Health Care? – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Tom Hoffman: Do You Want to Know What’s Wrong with the Common Core ELA Standards?

Kiersten Marek:

Rhode Island’s own Tom Hoffman featured on Diane Ravitch:

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Tom Hoffman, a blogger in Rhode Island, took up the challenge to explain what is wrong with the Common Core ELA standards. He does it here. He goes through them in the spirit of “close reading,” and they read like a nineteenth century approach known as “parsing,” whereby the student analyzed a sentence or a paragraph or a story in minute detail, identifying its grammatical and syntactical features. Today, promoters of the Common Core call it “critical thinking,” but if you go through Hoffman’s analysis, it sure looks like parsing, in which students are expected to read not for the joy of ideas, words, and stories, but for the interpretation and interaction of minute (and dubious) details and (possible) literary devices.

After going through exemplar texts and the questions based on them, Hoffman writes:

I am not seeking out edge cases; I’m just trying to apply the standard as written…

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Philanthropy for Veterans Has a Command Post in Washington – Inside Philanthropy

Doing right by America’s veterans is one of philanthropy’s biggest projects right now, and among the most complicated. Under Vikki Spruill, the Council on Foundations has put itself at the center of that action.

Philanthropy for Veterans Has a Command Post in Washington – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds Obama’s Defense of Net Neutrality

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds President’s Defense of Net Neutrality

Providence, RI – Today President Barack Obama released a statement calling on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure a free and open internet by upholding the principles of net neutrality and reclassifying consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act – a step which would enable the FCC to prevent internet service providers from creating “fast lanes” for certain websites.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who joined 11 other Senators on a letter to the FCC supporting Title II reclassification, released the statement below applauding the President’s action:

“A free and open internet that functions equally for all users and developers – from the biggest businesses to the smallest startups – is absolutely essential.  It’s this principle that enabled Google to go from a small operation in a garage to one of the world’s iconic corporations, and that will allow the web to continue to serve as an incubator for innovation for generations to come.  I thank the President for supporting this goal and for his strong advocacy on behalf of net neutrality.”