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August 26, 2016

Book Details Foundation Influence on Obama Education Policy

A new book on education philanthropy details how four major grant makers operate in the spheres of advocacy and policy and their impact on shaping the agenda of President Obama’s Education Department, according to The Washington Post.

Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence by Megan Tompkins-Stange, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, draws on interviews with dozens of officials at the Bill & Melinda Gates, Eli and Edythe Broad, Ford, and W.K. Kellogg foundations, whose identities were shielded so they could speak frankly about how their organizations operate in politics and policy.

The book portrays the Gates and Broad organizations as particularly aggressive in integrating advocacy into their grant making on school programs, the Post’s Valerie Strauss writes in her Answer Sheet blog, which has been critical of philanthropic efforts to promote charter schools and the Common Core curriculum. The post includes an interview with Ms. Tompkins-Stange conducted by the website EduShyster. The author also talked to public radio’s Marketplace on her findings about big foundations’ political influence.