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March 12, 2019

Politically Speaking, 'School Reform' Has Gone Hollywood

Over the last decade, 87 percent or more of the political contributions made by staff at leading school reform organizations went to Democratic candidates and causes.

July 02, 2018

How Education Philanthropy Can Accidentally Promote Groupthink and Bandwagonism

One of the nice things about summer is that it's a good time for reflection. One thing I found myself thinking about is the role philanthropy plays in the work we do, especially in the aftermath of RAND's harsh evaluation of Gates' Effective Teacher Initiative.

October 10, 2017

Education Philanthropists Should Walk the Walk on Accountability

The other week, I called out teachers unions for failing to "walk the walk"; I think the same admonition can be applied to education funders, big time.

December 03, 2015

The New Education Philanthropy

On Tuesday, Harvard Education Press published The New Education Philanthropy. Hopefully it will make its own modest contribution to smarter reflection, criticism, and giving.

April 24, 2014

Aftermath: My Note to the Gates Foundation

Blogger John Thompson and Gates research honcho Steve Cantrell ultimately had an extended, robust exchange of views. They didn't "solve" anything but I think this kind of honest, civil disagreement makes it a helluva lot easier to think about finding workable ways forward. So, when they offered to share their takes on the whole deal, I was game. Here's what they had to say.

March 05, 2014

A Small Request for My Friends at Gates

At an Al Shanker Institute forum a few weeks back, at the AFT's DC headquarters, I aggressively defended the good intentions and fair-mindedness of foundation staff working on education (you can see the event here). I offered my own criticisms, but I mostly told an audience very skeptical of Gates/W...

May 08, 2013

In Which I Interview an Insincere Reformer

I recently had a fascinating exchange with a smart journalist. He wrote, "I'm looking into the major donors from across the country who tried to influence school board races. Critics have questioned the[ir] motives...To what extent are they sincere in advancing reforms they believe in?" I was str...

June 22, 2012

The 'Successful' Failure of ED in '08?

Given my interest in edu-philanthropy and education advocacy, I'm predictably taken by Alexander Russo's behind-the-scenes tale "The Successful Failure of ED in '08." Examining an effort that is generally recalled as a major Gates-Broad partnership that flopped, Russo argues that the whole exercise...

May 14, 2012

Media Fawning a Little Less When It Comes to Edu-Giving

A number of years ago, in my 2005 book With the Best of Intentions: How Philanthropy is Reshaping K-12 Education, I pointed out that media coverage of education foundations tended to be wide-eyed and sycophantic. At that time, I analyzed the coverage of the five leading edu-foundations by the New Y...

May 07, 2012

The Big Philanthropic Shift: Now What?

I recently wrote a piece for Phi Delta Kappan exploring a couple of the key developments in edu-giving since 2005. That's the year I published With the Best of Intentions: How Philanthropy is Reshaping K-12 Education, in which I (in my usual mean-spirited fashion) used the dismal experience of the ...

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The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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