Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nowack departure from Penn Fund raises deeper question

Helen Gym
As I reported last week, Jeremy Nowak is out as president of the William Penn Foundation. But Helen Gym, from the ed activist group Parents United for Public Education in Philadelphia, writes that in light of his abrupt departure, deeper questions emerge about the role the foundation played under his tenure.

On a national level, a number of public education observers and public interest advocates have raised serious concerns about the role of “philanthropic” investments into education reform. From the Broad Foundation to the Waltons and Gates Foundations – what we’re seeing across the country is an unprecedented level of private money shaping public policy under the guise of philanthropy. Too often that agenda has centered around a radical dismantling of public education, increased privatization, and disruptive reform that has sent many districts spiraling into chaos and sustained turmoil.
We have no idea whether our complaint about lobbying had any influence on Mr. Nowak’s departure. Whether or not it did, foundations and “reformers” everywhere need to sit up and look critically at practices that risk substituting private agendas for true public purpose. -- "The new “philanthropy”: private agendas vs. public interest"

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