To look at the history of education philanthropy is to look into the giving of some of the largest foundations in our nation's history, does their educational giving help or harm our nation?
"We’ve always been a Tocquevillian nation, where progress springs not from the genius of central planners but from the pushing and shoving of a hearty stew of self-interested actors. That said, it’s clear that some things about today’s education philanthropy are distinctive—and potentially worrisome. Ravitch rightly points out the extraordinary closeness of the working relationship between major funders and the federal government. And, while some foundations have always taken an active interest in policy and reform, the shared priorities, prescriptive metrics, emphasis on advocacy, and coordination among several of today’s most prominent and deep-pocketed education donors is a noteworthy development.
"This kind of muscular philanthropy can serve as an enormously valuable catalyst amidst the bureaucracy and deep-set routines of American education. A cacophony of funders, marked by competing agendas and visions of reform, can provide a powerful vehicle for supporting promising individuals and ideas that may be a poor fit for education bureaucracies. Of course, it’s essential that other donors provide a balancing wheel that can counter the groupthink of the moment—and that funders take care not to forge too close a partnership with federal officials."--Frederick Hess, HistPhil.org