Convince Private Sector to Support Public Education Overhaul

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 01/06/2006 - 02:29.

 From Philanthropy News Digest is an article on NY Mayor Bloomberg convincing the private sector - corporations, foundations and philanthropists - to support public education overhaul in NYNY, raising from this over $300 million "without strings attached", which is "crucial to their ability to experiment and support research and development efforts within the system". A thought to share as we select and brief our new Cleveland Public Schools CEO. Feel free to share your thoughts...

 

New York Mayor Convinces Private Sector to Support Public Education Overhaul

While New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's overhaul of the city's public school system has, at times, bewildered parents and infuriated educators, it also has received broad support from the city's corporate and foundation leaders, the New York Times reports.

Bloomberg and the city's education commissioner, Joel I. Klein, have forged close bonds with the private sector, raising more than $300 million and turning public education into a cause of the corporate-philanthropic-society set. While much of the has come from foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates, Michael and Susan Dell, Broad, and Wallace foundations, many of the givers are prominent fixtures in local society. "There is a club of people in New York that supports just about everything — the museums, the libraries," said Merryl H. Tisch, a member of the state's board of regents whose husband, James S. Tisch, is chief executive of Loews Corporation. "Now, because Michael has such a good name and is so reputable, they are able to transfer that club into the school system."

Private donors, including media barons Mortimer B. Zuckerman and Rupert Murdoch, venture capitalist Russell L. Carson, and hedge fund manager turned vintner Julian H. Robertson, Jr., have credited the mayor and Klein with improving communication between the city's Department of Education and the private sector and with creating a sense of professionalism and access within the system. And while, in the context of the system's annual budget of about $15 billion, $300 million might not seem all that significant, the fact that much of that money comes without strings attached is viewed by both Bloomberg and Klein as crucial to their ability to experiment and support research and development efforts within the system. "You are able to do it without saying this is money that is going to come out of the classroom," Klein told the Times.

After becoming chancellor in 2002, Klein created an Office of Strategic Partnerships and tapped his wife's friend Caroline Kennedy to serve as its chief executive. Kennedy, who led the office for nearly two years, remains involved as vice chair of the Fund for Public Schools. In 2000 and 2001, the fund reported donations of just under $3 million annually. Since Bloomberg took office, however, the fund has collected more than $122 million.

"The mayor is one of the city's biggest philanthropists; frankly he had a lot of chits to call in," said Kathryn S. Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City. "[W]hen he said, 'Education is my priority and I want you to support it', he was calling in his IOUs, and equally there was great deal of confidence that Joel was going to focus the philanthropy on a handful of key priorities."

Herszenhorn, David. “Mayor Made Public Schools Into a Private Philanthropy.” New York Times 12/30/05.

 

Here is a useful web site.

Here is a useful web site. < ahref="http://www.just4kids.org/">Just4Kids

I cam across is through an article from New York:
Council joins leaders in business, education in offering Web-based tools to help schools improve

The Business Council has joined the University at Albany and others in New York’s business and education communities in unveiling a new Web-based system of tools designed to help schools improve.

The new “toolkit” is being offered by a new collaborative effort called Just for the Kids-New York (JFTK-NY), which is affiliated with the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA). The toolkit is designed to help educators use data to raise student achievement.

The effort is also supported by State University of New York, IBM, State Farm Insurance, the Broad Foundation, and AT&T.

JFTK-NY offers accurate, easy-to-understand student assessment data from all elementary and middle schools in the state. In addition, it includes results of a study of high-performing elementary schools, and it offers information on best practices that these schools have used in raising student achievement.

Using publicly available data from the New York State Assessment System, the Just for the Kids-New York Web site shows not only how well each school is doing, but it compares each school to others facing equal or greater challenges and let’s them see their “opportunity gap”–that is, the gap between their own performance and that of a similar school doing better.

The site also provides resources to help schools examine their own practices and learn what the best practices are in the high performing schools. It includes charts that let a school see its progress over three years, compared with “top comparable” schools as well as “best in state.”

The tools are available on the Just for the Kids Web site, which is free and requires no registration. The case studies of the high-performing elementary schools are also available on the School of Education Web site.

“Just For The Kids-New York takes school report cards to a new level of accessibility to parents and the general public. Along with displaying school achievement information in a powerful way it points schools and their communities in the right direction for increasing student achievement,” said Ed Reinfurt, vice president of The Business Council of New York.

“We are very excited to bring this research-based program to New York, and believe it will bring about long-term, genuine solutions, rather than short-term responses,” said Susan D. Phillips, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Education and chair of JFTK-NY. “By establishing and making widely available the nation’s best educational practices, it will become a constant source of valuable information and inspiration for all educators’ school-improvement efforts.”

Plans are under way to complete a best practices study of a sample of high and average performing middle schools during the 2006-07 academic year, and to complete a high school study.

The Web site is www.just4kids.org.