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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.