Who are they funding? How broad is their influence? Should the funding priorities of a small number of foundations drive local education policy? Is Bill Gates our national superintendent, as Diane Ravitch has suggested?
For those clamoring for disclosure, academic institutions where I have worked and studied have received grants from the Gates Foundation, and I have undoubtedly benefited from those grants. My intent is not to villainize these foundations, but to wonder out loud whether it is a good thing for American education when local reform strategies are shaped so strongly by a small number of private, uber-wealthy foundations.
To get us started, here's a link to a spreadsheet with the grantees of the Gates, Broad, and Walton Foundations. I pulled these from data from the Foundation Center's database; these are not real-time data, so grants from 2006-2007 are not exhaustively represented here. You can follow these links for a more up to date list of Gates, Broad, and Walton grantees. I'll hit this myself tomorrow, but in the meantime, may a thousand blog posts bloom...
P.S. Be sure to check out this A-Rus post about the growing role of foundations in American education.