Corporations aren’t writing many no-strings checks to schools. They’re helping to write curricula, design classes and train principals, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
In St. Paul and Mahtomedi, 3M has already helped schools develop science curricula and teach lessons. Cargill executives coach 11 Minneapolis charter school principals on management and business. And this school year St. Louis Park High School will ask corporations for help in designing electives.
“My concern is that many partnerships benefit the company more than the school and students,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston advocacy nonprofit.
A look at such collaborations around the country finds IBM helping to open an inner-city public high school in September. The school will prepare graduates for entry-level technology jobs, possibly at IBM.
In Nashville, Tenn., a high school joined with a local credit union to open a student-run branch in the cafeteria, open during lunch periods to students and staff.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has asked businesses to “adopt” schools, giving both expertise and dollars.
In Minneapolis, Cargill, General Mills and Medtronic helped set up a $2.8 million, three-year leadership development program for principals. Corporate human resources executives will coach Minneapolis principals this year on management and other issues.
. . . 3M volunteers advised Mahtomedi Public Schools on an engineering curriculum this year, but the 3M Foundation’s Barbara Kaufman said the district led the curriculum conversations.
“Most of these teachers have never been in the industry … we provide the relevancy,” she said.
Education’s goal is “to create a literate population who can think critically,” not to train a workforce, said Linn, of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.