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Title:Foundation influence on Race to the Top policy
Author(s):Kocanda, Trisha Lynn
Director of Research:Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Alexander, Kern; Burbules, Nicholas; Herrmann, Mary
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Gates Foundation
Broad Foundation
Walton Foundation
Race to the Top (RTTT)
Teacher effectiveness
Teacher evaluation
Abstract:The growth of the federal government’s role in public education was evidenced in the Race to the Top (RTTT) program that awarded funding to states for adopting key K-12 education reform initiatives. Using a content analysis methodology, this research study examined the grant giving of the Gates, Broad, and Walton Foundations during the RTTT policy development stages by analyzing 2008 and 2012 990-PF tax records to determine funding alignment with key RTTT policy components. The study also closely examined the Gates Foundation’s involvement with teacher effectiveness components found within RTTT. Using coding and descriptive statistics, this data was examined to answer two research questions: How did the funding priorities of major foundations and the U.S. Department of Education align to set the policy agenda specific to Race to the Top? What is the involvement of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the policy development and implementation process related to teacher effectiveness in Race to the Top? The theoretical concepts of ideology and power and how these concepts worked in tandem to shape various stages of policy development were used as the theoretical framework for the dissertation. The findings from this study suggests that the 2008 funding priorities of the Gates, Broad, and Walton Foundations aligned with eight key RTTT policy components that were introduced by the Obama Administration in 2009. The Walton and Broad Foundations saw at least an 80% grant alignment with the federal RTTT program. From a financial perspective, the Gates Foundation contributed the most to RTTT-aligned grants at over 166 million in 2008. Furthermore, the study affirmed that the Gates Foundation was focused on teacher evaluation and effectiveness during RTTT policy implementation stages. The increase of 136 million more in Gates-funded teacher effectiveness grants in 2012, when compared to 2008, was noticed most explicitly in the area of teacher evaluation and effectiveness. The results informed the recommendations that called for more awareness of K-12 policy reform at the local level, the repeal of policies that rely on standardized student achievement and growth data as a significant factor in teacher evaluation ratings, and a call to continue to monitor the influence of private philanthropic foundations in policy development.
Issue Date:2017-04-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Trisha Kocanda
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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