Follow the money and wake up (or there’s gonna be a shakeup)

My colleague, Dr. John Nash, sent me two messages recently that I think are worth some attention. Like John, I agree that university educational leadership programs need to wake up to the implications of these funding decisions. Your thoughts?

Message 1

The Prudential Foundation gave $700,000 to New Leaders for New Schools for general operating support and to help expand the group’s regional work in Newark, New Jersey.

I’d like to point out that the grant for New Leaders from Prudential was for general operating support!!!  Not for any particular part of their program – just to keep the lights on!

Prudential also gave $300,000 to Teach for America, which will use the funds to support its School Leadership Initiative and increase the number of alumni who enter school leadership positions in low-income communities,

TFA is going to run its own leadership program. Again, we’re not needed.

These are two more big shots across the bow for our program, and all others in the country. Money is flowing like crazy to “innovative” programs like these and we have an opportunity to cherry pick the parts that a) we think are effective, and b) DE [the Iowa Department of Education] won’t choke on and then use our new profile/program as a way to obtain external funds, such as those from foundations like Prudential, to expand and have greater impact.

Or we can wait for New Leaders, TFA, and others to show up and just take all our students. 

Full story here:

Message 2

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has announced a $20 million grant to the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems to continue recruiting, training, placing, and supporting school district leaders nationwide. See the full story here.

I’ll note that the article states the gift comes on the heels of a favorable evaluation of the Broad Center’s superintendent training program.

What the article doesn’t note is that the evaluation was conducted internally by the Broad Center, which Dianne Ravitch has taken exception to.

FacepunchSetting aside for the moment whether the evaluation was any good (and it probably was), the big point is this: This is $20 million for a CAS-like program that is not university-based. [CAS is our superintendent preparation program]

In sum, in the last six weeks:

  • KIPP got $50M to groom their own principals from Obama.
  • New Leaders for New Schools got $700K from Prudential to groom their own principals.
  • TFA got $50M from Obama to expand and $300K from Prudential to groom their own principals.
  • Broad got $20M from their rich parent foundation to groom superintendents “their” way.

That’s $121 million given away in the last 6 weeks. 

And we sit worrying if the DE [Iowa Department of Education] will let us be innovative.  Yikes.

Image credit: punch

8 Responses to “Follow the money and wake up (or there’s gonna be a shakeup)”

  1. Sounds like the epitome of Dangeroulsy Irrelevant!

  2. YES, I’ve been saying this for the last year. It has become a TFA/NLNS/Broad/Gates world and we just live in it.

    We have new regulations for leadership prep. in Virginia and there’s a huge new provision for “alternate” routes to certification. That part of the regs was written essentially so that school divisions can craft their own certification programs in conjunction with groups like NLNS.

    The privatization of schooling began a while ago, and now the privatization of educator preparation programs is well underway.

  3. As we continue the downward spiral of poor public perception of education, the money will continue to be targeted at urban, large-district education issues.

    In fact, public policy will continue to be a reaction to the perception of failing inner-city schools too.

  4. Once our teacher unions and the urban public schools that employ them have been dismantled, we’ll be left with what?

  5. Well, at the end of the day it was just business.
    So follow the money before the shake up!

  6. This is why I fight so passionately to support teacher professional partnerships. What we are seeing is the mass corporatization of our public schools, a practice which thrives on the objectification of it’s subjects, a system more intent on producing good consumers than thoughtful and reflective citizens. In essence, this objectification is a form of oppression that assimilates those teachers who might rise to call of being revolutionary by placating them with promotional success. If a teacher does too good a job of developing the critical capacity in their students they are silenced one way or another. This has always been a present force in our schools, just now with the current state of our economy and sitting on the cusp of creating a permanent under-class in this country it is more pronounced. The only way to combat it is with revolutionary leadership, leadership from the students, teachers, and parents themselves. I would very much like to hear how traditional leadership structures could support this. In my experience they can’t. The only way is by empowering teachers and students with the agency to act on their own behalf.

  7. The Bush Institute is now diving into principal preparation:

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