September 25, 2015

Inside Philanthropy's Growing Role in Public Schools

Donors are giving public schools billions of dollars, and by many indications, the sums are rising as local governments seek to supplement their education budgets.

Those dollars are controversial, however. To explore why, Amy Brown, an anthropologist, spent two years teaching in a New York City high school to better understand what happens. She writes about the experience in her book A Good Investment? Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School.  

One of her concerns: The administration tried hard to project a certain image. she says: Poor black and Latino students there transformed into young professionals, largely thanks to white teachers. While that approach may have appealed to donors, whose checks helped provide the school with many resources and perks, Ms. Brown argues that this kind of philanthropy only increases competition and inequity.

In an interview, Ms. Brown speaks with Amy Costello, founder and host of Tiny Spark, about what she found at her school and the many tough questions that arose. Listen to the podcast and find more at Tiny Spark