PROMO: Public School Teachers Get Cozy with Donors

In our next podcast, anthropologist Amy Brown goes inside a New York City public school where students are mainly black and Latino, and the teachers mostly white. When it comes time to schmooze with donors at the spring fundraiser, teachers are hand-picked.

“It was all about maintaining this look as young, energetic, articulate teachers who are going to be attractive to potential funders of the school. As people who are going to work their hardest and look good doing it,” Brown says.

Anthropologist and author, Amy Brown (CREDIT: Amy Brown)

Anthropologist and author Amy Brown (Credit: Amy Brown)

But when she gets to the fundraiser, Brown finds herself thinking about all the other students in the city, who won’t benefit from the night’s proceeds. “It was really super fancy hors d’oeuvres and a couple of open bars, and there were huge blown up images of students at the school all over the walls,” she recalls. “And, I mean, what makes these kids more deserving of those fat checks than any other public school kid?”


  1. All kids should have a chance to receive a good education and this method tends to pick and choose who will “win” and who will “lose”. Who are we/they to make this decision?

    • Amy

      Many people agree with you, Andrea. Amy Brown makes the case that we should strive for equity for all public school students, not just for those attending charter schools.

Leave a Comment