Sunday, August 21, 2005

Rolling in dough

Today's NYT has a report on the fastastic sums of money poured into the school system by foundations.

According to the Foundation Center, which tracks and analyzes foundation giving, large foundations gave $1.23 billion in grants to elementary and secondary schools in 2003, the latest year for which data is available. That same year, higher education grants totaled $1.12 billion. It was a sharp turnaround from five years earlier, when K-12 grants were about $620 million, compared with $1.07 billion for higher education.

But it is not only the size of the grants that has changed. The nature of the philanthropy has undergone a profound shift.

"A lot of the old philanthropy was devoted to helping schools do what they were already doing," said Richard Lee Colvin, director of the Hechinger Institute at Teachers College at Columbia University. "The new group is saying, 'Let's try something different.' It's a lot of young, active entrepreneurial people - Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Waltons, Dell, Milken - who want to change the schools, who want to use their money to support specific school reforms."
My unsolicited advice to the superrich foundations: Don't pour money into existing school systems. Create your own quality schools. You have a wonderful model you can follow in the Core Knowledge program.


Anonymous said...

I'll have to try to find the story about the huge, enormous, vast Annenberg grant (I think it was Annenberg).

It did nothing. Zero.

People seem to be pretty stunned by the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I found it!

I’ve never claimed to have psychic powers, but I did predict that the $500 million that philanthropist Walter Annenberg poured into various school systems around the country, beginning in 1993, would fail to make any difference in the quality of public education. Regrettably, I was right.

BY APRIL 1998, it was clear that the much-ballyhooed effort had collapsed on itself. A Los Angeles Times editorial said, “All hopes have diminished. The promised improvements have not been realized.”

This is a quotation from Evan Keliher, "Guerrilla Warfare for Teachers: A Survival Guide"

Instructivist said...

Thanks for the quote, Catherine.

The big foundations claim to have learned from the Annenberg debacle. But as far as I am concerned, they are all tinkering around the edges. The educational enterprise is rotten at the core due to the dominance of the progressive/constructivist ed cult.