The Philanthro-Baron Has No Clothes

How mega-foundations are undermining our public schools and eating away at our democracy

Philanthro-barons like Bill Gates have more power and influence than ever before.

Reader: it is well established that the richest Americans have billions of ideas for how to improve our failed and failing public schools. In fact, by the time you finish reading this sentence, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg and the Walton family will have generated one new school improvement idea each, not to mention a substantial amount of interest on their substantial fortunes. But not everyone is convinced that the growing influence of these “philanthro-barons” over our schools and our democracy is such a great development. In a new article entitled “Plutocrats at Work” writer Joanne Barkan paints a disturbing picture of mega-philanthropy gone wild. EduShyster recently interviewed Barkan to find out why she’s so concerned about the new breed of philanthro-baron. Continue reading →

Great EXpectations

Will the heaviest hitter of all lend His support to the civil rights i$$ue of our time?

Reader: there are already plenty of marquee names involved in the crusade to *crush* the achievement gap. But thus far the biggest name of all has yet to weigh in upon the civil rights i$$ue of our time. I am talking, of course, about the Big Guy, the Man Upstairs, Sky Daddy, Him… Thankfully, thanks to the efforts of a former Teacher for America, that may be about to change. Let’s learn more, shall we? Continue reading →

Dogs for Excellence

The fortune that billionaire heiress Leona Helmsley left to the dogs is now funding education reform groups.

When last we encountered billionaire hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, she had ascended to the great hotel in the sky, leaving $12 million to her beloved Maltese, Trouble. In fact Helmsely loved dogs so much that she left the bulk of her fortune, now valued at between $5-$8 billion to the care and welfare of dogs. So you might be surprised to learn that these days Mrs. Helmsley’s vast fortune isn’t going to pamper pooches at all but to—drum roll please—reform our education system. That’s right Toto. You’re on your own while the Leona M. and Harry B. Charitable Trust writes checks to the tune of millions to groups like the Stand for Children Leadership Center and, my personal favorite, Educators for Excellence. Continue reading →

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! XOXO Walmart

Imagine that you are possessed of the surname “Walton” and happen to be sitting on mad coin—say a cool $90 billion. How do you celebrate the occasion that is Teacher Appreciation Day? Do you chip in to give the nation’s teachers a raise, knowing they’ve been hard hit by the recession? Do you send them gift cards to Walmart, the store that hath so enrichethed you? If you are a teacher in Massachusetts, the Waltons have an extra special treat in store for you: a fully-funded gala at the Statehouse urging the replacement of the state’s many non-excellent teachers with fresh new innovators who will share their excellence one renewable year at a time. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, xoxo Walmart! Continue reading →

Now on Sale at Walmart, Education Rephorm

Walmart is leading the effort to give low-income Americans more ¢hoi¢e in education, while insuring that they remain low income.

It is a well known fact that students who attend our union-stifled public schools are ill prepared for their future careers—at Walmart. That is why Walmart is leading the effort to fix our failing schools by introducing some much needed competition into the public education monopoly. Much like shoppers at Walmart have a choice of many different Chinese-made goods, education consumers will soon have a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of edu-choices. All this is thanks to the efforts of the Walton Family Foundation, which has plunked down a cool $1 billion worth of Walmart profits to transphorm public education. Continue reading →