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Momentum

Abstract

This project is a comparison of two young, powerful charitable foundations, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The research examines the first two decades of these two foundations through the lens of public and secondary education in their respective American time periods, politics, economics, and cultures. Although they operate in different time periods and among different main social concerns, the early actions of both the Carnegie Foundation and the Gates Foundation have approached grant-making in fundamentally similar ways to change American education. This paper first displays a brief history of charitable foundations, the problems with American public and secondary schools, and the ways that the Carnegie and Gates Foundations have chosen to address these problems. The two foundations have similar overall structures, similar problems that they aim to solve with their grant-making, and similar values of measurement and testing when making grants. Finally, both of the foundations have shifted the role of education of Americans from the local and specific and instead towards the foundations. This has raised questions of the interactions between foundations and the democratic rights of the populations that the foundations serve.

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