More than Patrons: How Foundations Fuel Policy Change and Backlash

Sarah ReckhowBy Sarah Reckhow (Michigan State University)

In educational policy, foundations have become increasingly involved in politics. Multiple major foundations, such as the Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation, have supported a shared agenda including Common Core, teacher-evaluation reforms, and charter schools. Philanthropies have also worked in partnership with the US Department of Education in support of federal policy initiatives. The alignment of private philanthropic advocacy efforts with leadership from the US Department of Education produced rapid changes in state adoption of Common Core standards and teacher evaluation. Yet, there have been costs to this more expansive role for philanthropy. The longevity of policy changes supported by major philanthropies may be challenged by the consequences of pursuing change via elite consensus and unelected leadership.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 49 / Issue 03 / July 2016, pp 449-454 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016