Foundations’ Newfound Advocacy

Inside Higher Ed. | April 13, 2012

By Doug Lederman

Comment from Old-Thinker News: The Gates Foundation has taken the lead from the Rockefeller Foundation – which first began the mission for altering the nation’s schools – in re-making education. More centralization and government control is the inevitable end. This article points out that there “…has been significant crossover of Gates officials… into the Obama administration…”

To many of the policy experts and researchers who work with them, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation have driven more significant (and beneficial) change in five years than American higher education has seen in decades.

To their critics, the two behemoths and a band of collaborating groups and think tanks (call them the “completion mafia”) have hijacked the national agenda for higher education and drowned out alternative perspectives.

One doesn’t have to fall squarely into one of those camps to acknowledge the extent to which the two foundations have remade the philanthropic landscape in higher education. A paper to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association aims to document — through an admittedly impressionistic mix of data, interviews and other means — just how thoroughly the two philanthropic giants (and others) have altered both the traditional foundation role in academe and (by extension) the public policy discussion about higher education.

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The foundations back consultants who work to enact new state policies on such things as performance-based funding, and there has been significant crossover of Gates officials, particularly, into the Obama administration.

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