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Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics (Studies in Postwar American Political Development) 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199937738
ISBN-10: 0199937737
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sarah Reckhow's Follow the Money is a smartly written book based on empirical research that illuminates the ways in which foundation funding for education can either undermine or bolster local participation in--and, really, democratic control of--public schools. It should be required reading for anyone who works in education reform or cares about its outcome." - Robin Rogers, Society


"Reckhow offers important conclusions about the role of philanthropy in public policy, the future of education reform, the political realities that determine the fate of reform proposals, and the issues raised by private money affecting how public money is spent." - A. J. Nownes, CHOICE

"This fascinating, exhaustively researched, and important book traces the growing scope and impact of philanthropic money in education politics and policymaking, a topic that has been the subject of much speculation but little systematic research to date." - Patrick McGuinn, Perspectives on Politics


"Sarah Reckhow has written a timely and fascinating book that brings overdue attention to the impact of philanthropy on education policy. In this extraordinarily thoughtful account, she explains how major donors are influencing school reform. In a field alternately dominated by fawning accounts and ad hominem attacks, Reckhow has provided a signal service. This is a book I heartily recommend to scholars, educators, policymakers, and would-be reformers." --Frederick Hess, author of The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday's Ideas


"Cheerleaders celebrate the role of foundations in driving contemporary school reform, while critics charge they exert influence without proportionate accountability and undermine local democracy. What distinguishes Follow the Money is that it is grounded in important theories within political science, empirically based, employs novel methodologies, and offers reasonable and modulated conclusions that, while generally aligning with critics, are neither shrill nor calcified. Any one of these would represent a contribution within the education policy field, and taken together they add up to quite a wallop." --Jeffrey R. Henig, Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, Teachers College, Columbia University


"This fascinating, exhaustively researched, and important book traces the growing scope and impact of philanthropic money in education politics and policymaking, a topic that has been the subject of much speculation but little systematic research to date... Unlike many education scholars, she employs a multi-method research design that incorporates large-scale data analysis, detailed case studies, surveys, interviews, and social network analysis. This approach has enabled her to craft a nuanced and multi-faceted analysis of foundation influence and impact and created a rich new trove of data that will be invaluable to other scholars." --Perspectives on Politics


About the Author


Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Postwar American Political Development
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199937737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199937738
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish that the previous reviewer would have actually read the book! Dr. Reckhow's work is top-notch scholarship in an area that is critically important but vastly understudied - until now. She combines multiple methods - network analysis, quantitative analysis of grantmaking, and interviews with leaders, to show how foundation grants from leading philanthropists shaped the trajectories of two urban centers' school reform efforts, but did so in very different ways. Her work is extraordinarily innovative, incisive in its analysis, and exceptionally well-written, and although it's excellent empirical work, the narrative is compelling and accessible. This is an important book that adds substantially to our knowledge about a very important class of actors that typically aren't visible in the political process, and does so without the hyperbole and ideological bent that much work on philanthropy currently does.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent read for those interested in the connection between private dollars and K-12 education. Reckhow presents the rather politically charged findings in an apolitical manner. The author leaves the connections up to the reader and simply presents what the flow of dollars is showing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics focuses primarily on how private foundations like the Gates Foundation, the Annenberg Challenge, Broad Foundation, Milken Family Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation are leading public school reform. Labeled “Boardroom Progressives” these groups are centered on accountability and markets. Reckhow’s research systematically examines “how foundations influence education politics and policy making” (p. 3) and brings to light what journalists and scholars have yet to explore: “The long-term vision and activities of the major foundations, as well as their changes over time” (p. 5).
Reckhow examines how these foundations have affected two of the country’s largest school districts: New York City and Los Angeles. She then uses three ways to show how foundations have changed politics and policy in these large, urban districts. She researches how the money given to these districts has been influenced by foundations, how the foundations have changed the face of the individuals who influence education policy, and how some reforms are more sustainable and are enjoyed by a wider community in Los Angeles that the reforms in New York City.

The chapters in this book target 1. Accountability, Markets, and the Philanthropic Agenda, 2. Following the Money from Foundations to Urban School Districts, 3. From Annenberg to Gates: Education Reform in New York City and Los Angeles, 1990-2005, 4. A Shadow Bureaucracy: Foundation Dollars and New York City Reform, and 5. Deliberative Decentralization: Foundation Dollars and Los Angeles School Reform. She includes four detailed appendices: Top 15 Grant Makers to K-12 Education, 2000 and 2005, Grant Recipient Categories, Explanation of Data, and Surveys.
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Format: Paperback
The book is a research on how big foundation organizations influence the policy in education. Reckhow’s findings suggest that the charity organizations act currently more like political actors with their resources and power.
The book is virtually divided by parts. The first part concentrates on foundation grant making and educational policies were changing during the last 20 years as well as how those made an impact on modern educational policy. The second part shows how Gates Foundation, the Annenberg Challenge, Board Foundation, Milken Family Foundation, and Walton Family foundations have influenced education policy and politics in New York City and Los Angeles, two biggest school districts of the nation.
I believe that book has touched an important issue whether we should differentiate between charity and politic influence. What public sees from media is a positive attitudes of foundations where are they sponsor the educational organizations. However, Reckhow shows that besides charity they also gain some political influence on urban board members.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unfortunately the book only covers funders up to 2005 and misses the Amway, Bradley and Walton impact Therefore, it has little impact on the current situation.
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