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Charting The Education "Club"

Board_interlocks Much as I like eduwonkette's attempt to chart the connections between school reform groups (It's a Small World After All), appreciate her link back to a previous post of mine (A Surge Of Think Tanks), and love pretty much anything that makes Andywonk squeal like a baby, I wish The 'Kette had looked back a little further in the TWIE archives to find a string of previous posts on this same topic that might have helped her. 

The relationships go further and are deeper than everyone sitting on everyone else's boards, creating a strange little club that is hard to figure out and even harder to join.  Here's a post about power couples in education.  Here's a wiki about who's who among the wonks.  Here's a post from last year's NSVF summit (The Sundance Of School Reform).  Don't even get me started about funders. 

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As someone who has also written, blogged and podcast on this constellation for several years (and is writing a series in www.edbizbuzz.com on social entreprenership in public education right now), I welcome the fact that a third party - indeed someone I've never met - has picked up on it.

When people who spend their time focused on school reform policy arrive at similar conclusions - that is, questioning what this group is all about, whether it's providing superior value with the resources taxpayers hand over to philanthropy real value, and whether the members of this particular imperial court are actually wearing clothes.- it might cause the general blog readership to do some research and form their own opinions.

More important, what anyone who has been in this business for a while really wants to know is whether the "venture philanthropy" - "social entrepreneur" - "neo-think tanks" axis is simply the "new, new thing" or something better. Is "the new boss, same as the old boss?"

It is possible that when TWIE (another I've never met), eduwonkette and edbizbuzz keeping raising the issue, the court might have to stop assuming or asserting value (beyond their interests and that of their funders), and start making the case objectively - to start telling us something about the social return on investment they honor with measures beyond what every nonprofit in public education has used from day one; to start opening up their financial and outcomes data, and to start showing the public the unique value proposition they and their model offer.


As someone who has also written, blogged and podcast on this constellation for several years (and is writing a series in www.edbizbuzz.com on social entreprenership in public education right now), I welcome the fact that a third party - indeed someone I've never met - has picked up on it.

When people who spend their time focused on school reform policy arrive at similar conclusions - that is, questioning what this group is all about, whether it's providing superior value with the resources taxpayers hand over to philanthropy real value, and whether the members of this particular imperial court are actually wearing clothes.- it might cause the general blog readership to do some research and form their own opinions.

More important, what anyone who has been in this business for a while really wants to know is whether the "venture philanthropy" - "social entrepreneur" - "neo-think tanks" axis is simply the "new, new thing" or something better. Is "the new boss, same as the old boss?"

It is possible that when TWIE (another I've never met), eduwonkette and edbizbuzz keeping raising the issue, the court might have to stop assuming or asserting value (beyond their interests and that of their funders), and start making the case objectively - to start telling us something about the social return on investment they honor with measures beyond what every nonprofit in public education has used from day one; to start opening up their financial and outcomes data, and to start showing the public the unique value proposition they and their model offer.


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