Philanthropy Puzzle

There is a less-known billionaire philanthropist involved with education policy.  Including on ed tech.  Not Gates, not Broad.

My question: is he self-interested?  I’m not going to name him.  But I did some digging on his personal holdings:

$500 million of Apple

$300 million of IBM

$300 million of Microsoft

$150 million to $250 million EACH of these: Google, Oracle, Intel, Verizon, Cisco, HP, Qualcomm.

Some might argue — inherent conflict of interest.

Others would say — no inherent conflict, any guy that wealthy is going to own companies like these, along with a ton of Exxon, Merck, etc.

What do you think?  Does owning a lot of stock mean you should stay out of policy?

I’ll opine tomorrow in the comments.

– Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

8 Replies to “Philanthropy Puzzle”

  1. I would hope that he is being self-interested.

    If he is sacrificing, destroying a greater value to obtain a lesser value, then he will be ineffectual like Gates.

    The students will benefit from less sacrifice and more self-interest in education. The importance of self-interest would be a valuable lesson in itself.

  2. Never mind his stock holdings. Someone needs to clean out George Lucas’s brain by going back in time–the “prequels” should be wiped from history.

  3. If George Lucas is the billionaire you’re talking about, I would note that he is one of the few people in education reform who promotes social and emotional learning as core for 21st century public education.

    This is unlike education reformers like Gates, Broad, Rupert Murdoch, and Michael Bloomberg, who most assuredly do not value social and emotional learning in education.

    So while Lucas may own a lot of tech stocks, he’s also promoting a humanistic vision of education that values more than technology.

    This too is unlike Gates, Broad, Murdoch, Bloomberg, et al, who value tech-heavy, test-heavy reform policies wherein each student becomes a data point in the Great Universe Of Analytics and NOTHING matters more than the data.

  4. George Lucas is a good guess, although I have no idea what stocks he owns.

    Sherman’s zinger — well said!

    The philanthropist is not a philanthropist, actually. It’s Calpers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System which holds many teachers’ pensions.

    My (modest) point is just that simply because someone — or in this case, a collective — has certain stock holdings, it’s not automatic that they advance policy beliefs simply to maximize their holdings.

    Similarly, when philanthropists are accused of dumb ideas that’s fair game, just as it is for the rest of us. But when motive is ascribed to a “privatizing agenda” for personal profit, without any evidence, that’s silly.

  5. “is he self-interested?” He? His?

    There was no way to win this game. Reminds me of some inner-city kids I know who face this every day in school…

    The Overlords will be pleased with this game.

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