Foundation Watch

Foundations Destroying American Public Education: Equity Initiatives


Foundations Destroying American Public Education (full series)
The Hydra | Equity Initiatives | Education
Youth Activism | Two Steps Ahead

 

Foundations Are Behind All Equity Initiatives

Much of what you have read about in the preceding chapters happened in no small part because of these foundations.

The 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 2019 New York Times series turned grade school curriculum, might never have seen the light of day if not for the MacArthur Foundation. In 2014, MacArthur awarded a $1 million, three-year grant to ProPublica, a liberal nonprofit news outlet for which Hannah-Jones wrote about race issues. She joined the Times the following year. In 2017, MacArthur awarded Hannah-Jones, whom it described as an “investigative journalist chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, particularly in education,” a “$625,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.” In “How the 1619 Project Came Together,” the Times explained that Hannah-Jones consulted with “Kellie Jones, a Columbia University art historian and 2016 MacArthur Fellow.” Matthew Desmond, who contributed an article about the “brutality of American capitalism” to the series, was a 2015 MacArthur fellow. The Pulitzer Center, the nonprofit that pushed curricula based on the series into school districts across the country, is also funded by the MacArthur Foundation.[1]

In 2021, MacArthur secured a position for Hannah-Jones as a professor at Howard University, where she would teach her racial ideas and continue the 1619 Project, by donating $5 million to the school.[2]

The Zinn Education Project, which has inroads in the majority of school districts and relentlessly criticizes capitalism and America, is a project of the activist groups Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, the latter of which is funded by the Kellogg Foundation and the New Venture Fund.[3]

David E. Kirkland, the architect of New York State’s radical culturally responsive-sustaining education strategy—who said asking black children to learn basic skills would “serve to indoctrinate minorities into the dominant culture”—received $500,000 from the Kellogg Foundation to push racial equity in public schools, and $1 million from the Gates Foundation to promote “racial identity formation” in schools. Both grants were awarded a couple of weeks apart in late 2020.[4]

A group called FairTest, which has successfully pushed to limit standardized tests, is funded not only by the NEA union but also by the Ford, MacArthur, and Soros foundations. FairTest’s former vice chair, Judith Browne Dianis, is prone to lashing out against “white supremacy and capitalism.” Dianis is also the executive director of the Advancement Project, a black advocacy group that is funded by Ford, Kellogg, and the New Venture Fund.[5]

President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which threatened schools over “disproportionate” suspensions of black boys whether or not the suspensions were justified, is a still-active partnership between Obama and a “who’s who” of foundations that pledged $200 million over five years. The Kellogg Foundation spent $15 million to persuade local school systems to relax disciplinary policies.[6] After two large federally funded studies showed that “restorative justice,” the practice of schools having violent assailants “talk things out” with their victims instead of suspending them, did not work out as hoped, George Soros’s foundation offered Baltimore schools $1.2 million to do it anyway. More than 3,500 teachers were trained to use restorative justice.[7] In cases of “student/staff physical conflict,” a “trained, neutral conference facilitator” would give the student assailants “the opportunity to share their perspectives on the situation.”[8]

It is philanthropic foundations who have injected critical race theory into society. Casey Foundation executives incubated a group called Equity in the Center that says it works with “coconspirators” to develop strategies to help critical race theory colonize organizations. Its “Woke @ Work” blog preaches that whites are “born into and conditioned by a toxic culture” and need “healing from white supremacy.” Society must “reckon with how white supremacy has dehumanized us.”[9]

A presentation authored in August 2020 capitalized on the coronavirus pandemic, advising that “[c]risis creates opportunity to take radical actions.” It said that to get away from “white dominant norms,” employers should “[m]ove away from perfectionism to being okay with ‘good enough.’ ” Organizations should “[r]elease ideas around ‘objectivity’—create space for people to share how emotions, identities and lived experience connect to their viewpoints” and  “[b]reak down silos and move away from indivualism [sic] to collectivism.” Employees may be “shocked,” “angry,” and “sad” by the dramatic change in their organization, but after “critical psychological realignments,” they will come to accept it.[10]

 

In the next installment, foundations have long K–12 education policy.

Notes

[1] https://www.macfound.org/grantee/propublica-41271/; https://www.propublica.org/series/segregation-now/p2; https://www.nytco.com/press/nikole-hannah-jones-joins-the-new-york-times-magazine/; https://www.macfound.org/videos/551/; https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/reader-center/1619-project-slavery-jamestown.html; https://www.macfound.org/fellows/933/; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/slavery-capitalism.html; https://pulitzercenter.org/blog/pulitzer-center-named-education-partner-new-york-times-magazines-1619-project; https://pulitzercenter.org/donors.

[2] https://newsroom.howard.edu/newsroom/article/14641/two-iconic-writers-join-howard-university.

[3] https://www.teachingforchange.org/zinnedproject; IRS Form 990 and foundation disclosures; https://www.zinnedproject.org/search/?_keywords=capitalism; https://www.zinnedproject.org/search/?_keywords=imperialism.

[4] https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/news/metro-center-wins-wk-kellogg-foundation-grant-racial-equity-work-among-parent-leadership; https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/news/nyu-metro-center-wins-bill-melinda-gates-grant-crse-research.

[5] https://twitter.com/jbrownedianis/status/1247591896786120706; https://advancementproject.org/staff/judith-browne-dianis/; https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/222653502/201800099349301420/full,  p. 7; IRS Form 990 and foundation disclosures.

[6] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/MBK-2016-Progress-Report.pdf, pp. 12–13.

[7] https://www.osibaltimore.org/wp-content/uploads/RP-plan-and-appendix.pdf, p. 4; https://www.osibaltimore.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RP-Report-2020-FINAL.pdf, p. 6. A 2018 study in Pittsburgh found that suspension and arrest rates in restorative justice schools were essentially the same as others, and that academic performance worsened. Math scores for black students especially went down. A 2019 study in Maine “found that middle-school students who received the Restorative Practices Intervention did not report more school connectedness, better school climate, more positive peer relationships and developmental outcomes, or less victimization.” https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-restorative-practices-20201001-2quav5634zdnjpahbcx46w6m6e-story.html.

[8] https://www.osibaltimore.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RP-Report-2020-FINAL.pdf, pp. 14, 28.

[9] https://equityinthecenter.org/our-partners-and-advisors/; https://equityinthecenter.org/eics-next-chapter/; https://equityinthecenter.org/so-you-want-to-be-a-white-ally-healing-from-white-supremacy/; https://adawaygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Awake-to-Woke-to-Work.pdf.

[10] https://equityinthecenter.org/services/working-sessions/awake-to-woke-to-work-building-a-race-equity-culture-open-enrollment-workshops/; https://community actionpartnership.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Community-Action-Partnership-Leading-in-Crisis-20200820-1.pdf, pp. 6–8, 41–42.

Luke Rosiak

Luke Rosiak is an investigative reporter with the Daily Wire who broke stories that put Loudoun County Public Schools on the national stage. He previously worked as a journalist at…
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