Sarah Darer Littman has a good idea. She thinks that journalists in Connecticut should do investigative journalism and not just write what they find in the press release.

Case in point: the recent gift of $5 million from the Gates foundation to Hartford schools.

Littman calls the grant a Trojan horse because it commits the district to adopt practices that the foundation favors. These will be costly, such as a specific, expensive assessment system.

There was a time when foundations actually made gifts. They gave the recipient X dollars to do what the recipient wanted to do. It’s different now. Now the foundation decides what the recipient ought to do, and offers money to carry out the foundation’s wishes.

In some cases, the foundation offers a recipient $100,000 to do something that will eventually cost the school district millions of dollars.

The great puzzle is why so many school districts line up and ask for the money.