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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Philip Anschutz and Walden Media: What Kind of Agenda?

One of the key players in the distribution of Waiting for 'Superman' is Walden Media, a film company owned by Philip Anschutz.  Barbara Miner touches on him (and many other players) in her recent article, but I've yet to see anyone look at how Anschutz uses his family's foundation to push a conservative/libertarian agenda.

As I'll lay out below, the Anschutz Foundation, chaired and financed by Philip, is quite fond of some of the biggest players in conservative education advocacy: the Manhattan Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Hoover Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute.  The foundation also gives to the Freedom Works Foundation, Washington Legal Foundation, and various other influential think tanks/organizations.  I won't really get into it here, but it's fair to say this foundation uses their philanthropic arm much the way the Koch brothers do: to further their own conservative agenda while creating a climate that is more friendly for their businesses.

Many left-leaning moviegoers will believe the film must be true: it's produced by that great curly-haired fellow who made 'An Inconvenient Truth.'  Never mind his misunderstanding of NAEP cut levels, his misrepresentation of tenure, and his refusal to provide even a slight bit of nuance about charter schools - the public comes away from this flick not even know what they don't know (yes, I've seen it).  And, as far as someone like Philip Anschutz is concerned, that's just fine and dandy - it fits right in with the school reform agenda pushed by the think tanks he funds.

Before reading the list below, do know this is not a full list of the foundation's donations - but it is a pretty good summary of the donations to free-market think tanks involved in education policy/reform (with a few other donations tossed in for extra spice).  You can see the full list of donations from the last three years here.  The foundation also supports Evangelical organizations (Young Life, National Prayer Committee, etc) and other religious groups; the rest of the donations go to community organizations that many people support (Mercy Corp, Boys and Girls clubs, hospitals, Susan G. Komen Foundation), but I'm focusing on the organizations that are explicitly trying to shape public policy.

Without further ado, here's the list of donations made by Anschutz's foundation:

2008:

$75,000 to Alliance for Choice in Education

$10,000 to AEI

$10,000 to American Spectator Foundation (Anschutz owns AS)

$15,000 to Americans for Prosperity

$100,000 to Association of American Educators Foundation

$75,000 to Cato Institute

$50,000 to Claremont Institue

$15,000 to Evergreen Freedom Foundation

$10,000 to Freedom Works Foundation

$100,000 to Heritage Foundation

$15,000 to Hoover Institution

$75,000 to Manhattan Institute

$10,000 to Mercatus Institute

$65,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$50,000 to Washington Legal Foundation

2007:

$100,000 to Alliance for Choice in Education

$10,000 to American Spectator Foundation

$15,000 to Americans for Prosperity

$45,000 to Cato Institute

$25,000 to Claremont Institute

$7,500 to Freedom Works Foundation

$175,000 to Heritage Foundation

$40,000 to Independence Institute

$10,000 to KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy

$50,000 to Manhattan Institute

$15,000 to Mountain States Legal Foundation

$15,000 to National Right to Work Legal Defense

$30,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$50,000 to the Washington Legal Foundation

2006:

$7,500 to AEI

$10,000 to American Spectator Foundation

$5,000 to Americans for Prosperity

$5,000 to Freedom Works

$50,000 to Independence Institute

$20,000 to National Right to Work Legal Defense

$20,000 to Pacific Research Institute

2005:

$10,000 to AEI

$5,000 to Americans for Prosperity

$25,000 to Clarement Institute

$50,000 to Manhattan Institute

$5,000 to Mercatus Center

$25,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$35,000 to the Washington Legal Foundation

2004:

$5,000 to AEI

$7,500 to Americans for Prosperity

$50,000 to Manhattan Institute

$10,000 to Mercatus Center

$10,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$25,000 to the Washington Legal Foundation

2003:

$10,000 to Alliance for Choice in Education

$15,000 to Heritage Foundation

$100,000 to Manhattan Institute

$15,000 to Mercatus Center

$15,000 to National Right to Work Legal Defense

2001:

$20,000 to Heritage Foundation

$10,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$10,000 to America's Future Foundation

$250,000 to Denver School of Science and Technology for capital grant

$25,000 to Free Congress Research and Education Foundation

$20,000 to Heritage Foundation

$5,000 to Independent Institute

$10,000 to Leadership Institute (training conservative leaders)

$10,000 to Mercatus Center

$5,000 to Pacific Research Institute

$10,000 to Young America's Foundation

2000:

AEI - $7,500

$10,000 to Heritage Foundation

$5,000 to Independent Institute

$40,000 to Mountain States Legal Foundation

$15,000 to National Right to Work Legal Defense

$7,500 to Pacific Research Institute

1998:

$10,000 to the Heritage Foundation

$3,000 to the Heritage Foundation to support a lecture series (Heritage 25: Lecture Series)

$5,000 to Independent Institute

$5,000 to Leadership Institute

$15,000 to Mountain States Legal Foundation

$20,000 to National Right to Work Legal Defense for "Operation Liberty Bell" to "alert thousands of Americans of their right to stop union officials from using compulsory dues to elect candidates and support causes that employees oppose."

$10,000 to Washington Legal Foundation

1 comment:

  1. Did you see that Philip Anschutz is now the primary backer of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa's four privatization pushing school board candidates for the Spring of 2011 elections?

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-school-money-20110129,0,1261256.story

    ReplyDelete