chapter  2
The Role of the Gates Foundation and the Philanthropic Sector in Shaping the Emerging Education Market: Lessons from the US on Privatization of Schools and Education Governance
Pages 17

As a case in point, with its fragmented education governance structures, the United States has been a prime site for the growth of corporate inuence on education policymaking. In recent reforms, though, further changes to the governance schemes that centralize authority have led to the even greater inuence of interest groups. In these concurrent processes of centralization and decentralization, meso-level governance is weakened, allowing these interest groups access to cash-starved localities as well as centralized policymaking processes (Lubienski 2014). While corporate interests have certainly taken advantage of these opportunities to marketize the public school sector, in this chapter we demonstrate that “non-prot” groups such as philanthropic interests have been leading the way in this restructuring, and in exerting greater authority over American schools in ways that can also advance corporate interests. In this chapter we use the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as an example of one particularly powerful actor within public education policy development and implementation in the US. We start here with a brief overview of neoliberalism, the role of the state, and the concept of network governance. We then move onto a brief history of the Gates Foundation and its education reform eorts, paying specic attention to the role of Bill Gates Jr. and the Foundation’s disproportionate inuence over the passage of charter school

law in Washington State – as an example of network governance in the neoliberal state. e concluding discussion considers the implications of these models both for school governance and for democratic forms of policymaking.