Found in Education: When the private sector gets involved in education

Last week's Found in Education included a story about Laurene Jobs' announcement of a $50 million grant to revolutionize the American high school.  This week, again, there was news about the impact of private funding on public education, plus as always, I include some fun.

- First, up is the release of the book The Prize  by Dale Ruskaoff, which investigates the role of Mark Zuckerberg's contribution of $100 million to transform Newark's school.  I haven't read the book yet (I'll give you my two cents when I finish it), but the gist of the findings are that the money failed miserably in having a positive effect on the most important part of an education system: the students.

The "failed" Zuckerberg experiment is reminiscent of Gates' failed small schools experiment in New York and those of other philanthropists.  I would love to see these funders offer grants to schools that simply let schools decide what they need.  

Implementation research shows the importance of context.  Across a state, within a district and within schools needs vary.  Educators often know what is needed but unfortunately are not empowered to do what is necessary for their school and their classroom.  Certainly, something to think about.  And, from what I have read, the Zuckerbergs have figured out that they need to include parents and teachers in the conversation, but it still sounds like their next foray may still include a one-size fits all approach, and education simply cannot be addressed in this manner.

Across the country from Newark, LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) released a report showing that magnet schools in the district far outperformed all other schools in the district, including charters. The report is timely as lausd continues to grow more charter not magnet schools. According to the report, lausd would do better to investigate in magnets rather than outsourcing education to charter schools yet the LA Times reports that private grant providers such as Eli Broad want half of LAUSD students, the second largest school district in the United States, to be enrolled in charter schools.

I suppose that's enough policy for the week.  To close out Found in Education this week,  I found this cartoon, because some days you just need to laugh out loud.

Found in Education is a weekly blog post on interesting ideas, tips, products, and stories related to education that I find over the week.  See something I should know about? Please send your ideas.  Comment here or leave me a message on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, or at the store.  



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