"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Philanthrocapitalists in Philadelphia; Arne Smiles

     According to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Martha Goodall, the KIPP Philadelphia program has received a $4.6 million grant from the Charter School Growth Fund, a non-profit funded by leading philanthrocapitalists.  Backed by many of the same funding sources, KIPP is also negotiating with the district:
KIPP officials are talking with the Philadelphia School District about playing a possible role in Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's academic-reform initiative, Imagine 2014. Her plan includes the option of converting more troubled district schools into charter schools with successful operators such as KIPP.
Somewhere, Arne Duncan is smiling at Philadelphia's attempt to grab some of his "Race off the Cliff" funds.  In the future, grants like these can also be matched dollar-for-dollar by the "Innovation Fund" in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Schools the philanthrocapitalists deep appropriate for urban minorities get their own slice of corporate welfare while public schools face the chopping block. 
     The grant certainly appeases the guidelines set by the Coalition for Student Achievement's guidelines for using the stimulus dollars and the Philanthropy Roundtable's guide for charter schools (cleverly titled "Charter Schools 2.0," a tribute to the data-idiots driving education reform).  
     The philanthropic community plays by their own rules and operate outside the realm of accountability.  Like young KIPPsters, the American public is trained to dream of wealth and riches; questioning the wisdom of the wealthy is hardly permitted.  But there are certainly reasons to be skeptical of the philanthropic community, as outlined in this article by Joan Roelo.  It may take another round of philanthropic failures before the general public begins to collectively question their reform efforts.  The business model of reform - competition, merit-pay, union-busting, and data-driven - might be a great system for programming computers but it's a terrible system for an inherently humanistic endeavor.  
     Gates is looking to the future.  Here is his dream of childhood.  Does it match yours?

1 comment:

  1. The first time I saw that commercial, I thought, "But why don't they all look at the fish together? Without the translation of a digital camera?"