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Why philanthropy can't save Philadelphia (especially its schools): Because outsiders can never know the landscape like a local does.

"The thing is, you don't have to look very far to see this poverty machine in action. If you live in Philadelphia, it's probably grinding down your neighborhood public school as we speak. After decades of mismanagement and starvation at the state and federal level, Philadelphia's beleaguered schools are turning to the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates or Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad for any measure of salvation they can find. It doesn't always go as planned -- this report notes that the gleaming Microsoft-backed 'School of the Future' in West Philly was flopping because students had laptops but lagged in basic skills and still didn't have old-fashioned textbooks. Late last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Philadelphia a $2.5 million grant that came with more strings than a puppet version of 'The Ten Commandments,' steering money toward things like more standardized testing and training of non-traditional principals and boosting charter schools -- the tenets of 'corporate education reform.' The Broad Foundation -- which trained or worked with the last four Philadelphia school leaders -- has the same agenda." -- Will Bunch, the Philadelphia Daily News

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