So in the Who's Who of billionaires who care and non-educators who think they know it all, let's add two more names.
First up, Campbell Brown, fomer CNN anchor, who started an education group/site called The Seventy-Four (counting the 74 million U.S. children under 18.) It is funded by "philanthropists" like Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Walton Foundation, and others of their ilk. From Huffington Post:
"We will fiercely challenge those forces within the education establishment who impede innovation in our schools and who protect and defend inequality and institutional failure,” she wrote.Obviously that would be as defined by her group as there is no person or group that would be defending inequality and institutional failure.
She clearly dislikes unions and, a couple of years back created the Parents' Transparency Project to examine how NYC handled teacher sexual misconduct. Brown is married to Dan Senor who is on the board of StudentsFirstNy, a group that pushes for more charter schools.
Then there's Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, who has pledged $50M to XQ: The Super School Project to "rethink high school." That website says that Ms. Jobs has been involved in education for two decades earning an MBA, working for Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, opening a natural foods company, then being on the board of a company that creates online tools and "help students study and be more effective at standardized testing" and then founding College Track in East Palo Alto,CA which helps underprivileged students go to college.
Among the "deep collaborators" there are Yo Yo Ma and Geoffrey Canada (Harlem Children's Zone). From the NY Times:
With an advertising campaign that looks as if it came from Apple’s marketing department, the initiative is meant to create high schools with new approaches to education. In essence, Ms. Powell Jobs and her team of high-profile educators and designers hope they can crowd-source a solution to a problem that has flummoxed policy makers for decades.That Super School website? Hard to read and follow but apparently "judges" will review 10 ideas and pick five that will share the $50M by fall 2016. Again, this is great but will it do better than the Gates Foundation? And, if there is a good idea, is it scalable and/or affordable? This is what happened with Gates pushed a "transformation" plan for all SPS schools only to see those schools unable to carry on with their plans after the money left.
And, in case you ever wondered about the sphere of the Gates Foundation, here's great chart to help you keep up (or make you dizzy, take your pick.)
At this point, I'm thinking you would need a deck of cards to remember all the big-name ed reformer heavy hitters.