The latest wave of reform in urban schools, led by the venture philanthropists, has made a great deal of change, without much progress. Foundations with a venture philanthropy bent, like the Walton Family Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Broad Foundation, say market principles, such as choice and competition, will improve schools. If parents and students have choices, the theory goes, schools will be forced to compete for customers. That will (improve) school quality, according to these philanthropists. While they have made changes to urban districts, there is more enthusiasm than evidence for the venture philanthropists’ market-based approach.

To access: email author