Privatization of Public Education: A Joint Venture of Charity and Power

Children’s Scholarship Fund is Created

The obvious solution to the charity and politics dilemma was to split the two functions and create a new organization – one with a less ideological profile – to carry out most of the fundraising and most of the grantmaking work. On June 9, 1998, CSF was unveiled at a news conference in New York. It was a high-profile launching, with $200 million in donations ($50 million of that from CEO American founder John Walton, $50 million from venture capitalist Ted Forstmann, and $100 million to by raised locally). It included a bipartisan array of luminaries on hand with letters of support from President Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Mayors Richard Daley of Chicago and Richard Riordan of Los Angeles. Leaders of the “new” organization spoke of its mission as creating opportunities for poor children and giving their parents a choice other than the public schools. (Few took note of the fact that the gap between school tuition and the $500 scholarships of some cities would not enable most poor children to participate.)

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