At AFT’s NCLBlog, Michele is upset that philanthropists don’t just hand over the money to educators to spend as they see fit. They try to direct their giving to ideas and programs they think will be effective.
The philanthropists who take an interest in public education don’t give school districts the funds and say, “You are the experts–do what you know will work.” As per usual, anyone who went to school, including philanthropists, thinks they know best how to “fix” schools–so it’s their way or the highway. Small schools anyone?
It’s interesting, and sad really, to note that this approach stands in marked contrast to how philanthropists approach the field of public health. They don’t pretend to know how to stop the spread of tuberculosis–and they don’t tie the purse strings to their “vision” for public health.
As EdPol observes, philanthropists do direct their health giving. They don’t just give the money to the National Institutes of Health. However, philanthropists have a lot more faith in the ability of medical professionals to determine what works than they have faith in educators.
Rick Hess looks at education philanthropy in With the Best of Intentions. It’s clear that donors are afraid their money will be wasted: The massive Annenberg grants showed how to put more into the old system and get the old results. Many of the new education philanthropists are trying to leverage change by funding choice, charters and social entrepreneurs.
Update: If you like snark — and who doesn’t? — read Eduwonk on teacher-voice squelching.