"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, December 04, 2009

Rise of Venture Philanthropy

From Kenneth Saltman, via Workplace:

The Rise of Venture Philanthropy and the Ongoing Neoliberal Assault on Public Education: The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Kenneth Saltman

In the past decade educational policy and reform has come increasingly under the sway of a new form of philanthropy. Venture philanthropy is modeled on venture capital and the investments in the technology boom of the early 1990’s. VP not only pushes privatization and deregulation, the most significant policy dictates of neoliberalism1 by championing charter schools, voucher schemes, private scholarship tax credits, and corporate models of curriculum, administration, and teacher preparation and practice, but Venture Philanthropy is also consistent with the steady expansion of neoliberal language and rationales in public education, including the increasing centrality of business terms to describe educational reforms and policies: choice, competition, efficiency, accountability, monopoly, turnaround, and failure. Venture philanthropy in education whose leading proponents include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation departs radically from the age of “scientific” industrial philanthropy characterized by Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford. These traditional philanthropies, despite pursuing a largely conservative role of undermining radical social movements, nonetheless framed their projects in terms of the public good and sought to provide individuals with public information through schools, libraries, and museums.

Venture philanthropy treats schooling as a private consumable service and promotes business remedies, reforms, and assumptions with regard to public schooling. Some of the most significant projects involve promoting charter schools to inject market competition and “choice” into the public sector as well as using cash bonuses for teacher pay and to “incentivize” students.


Full article available here.

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