Tag Archives: Teachers

Back to School for Billionaires

This Newsweek article explores the various methods employed by our nation’s concerned billionaires in an effort to reform the US education system. In their efforts to do good they’ve found that it’s not as simple as it seems.

“The business titans entered the education arena convinced that America’s schools would benefit greatly from the tools of the boardroom. They sought to boost incentives for improving performance, deploy new technologies, and back innovators willing to shatter old orthodoxies.

They pressed to close schools that were failing, and sought to launch new, smaller ones. They sent principals to boot camp. Battling the long-term worry that the best and brightest passed up the classroom for more lucrative professions, they opened their checkbooks to boost teacher pay.

It was an impressive amount of industry. And in some places, it has worked out—but with unanticipated complications.”

With so much success in the business world it would make sense to run schools in a business-like manner, but what we’re all realizing is that education reform is much more complicated.

“…The Walton Family Foundation hoped that its $8 million investment in Milwaukee charters would produce strong schools and a competitive environment to raise the bar across all the city’s schools. But the charters failed to outperform traditional schools. Reading scores were mostly flat over the past five years citywide. In math, elementary- and middle-school gains were stronger than in the rest of Wisconsin, but high-school proficiency dropped 2 points.

This causes pause to the cause. Should education reform be about school or teacher reform, or do we need to be looking at broader issues in society?

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Billionaires Graded for Their Efforts:  Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Started with $400 million in Austin, Texas, in 1999 to improve education for the urban poor through charters, school leadership programs, and data systems that track student performance. Received the best grade: B-

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Chicago Teachers are Strapped for Supplies

Urban School Foundation  blogger here, again. Hello blogee! I’ve got some local news for you today. In the past few blog posts we’ve been launching our discussions on education reform, touching on the hot button issues and ideas of how to shape our educational system for the needs of the future.  It’s a problem at a national level, and all seems a bit daunting. But don’t be discouraged! There are small things you can do on the local level to help out our students and teachers in need.

A recent article by Lisa Pevtzow highlights an issue that schools and teachers face every day: there’s not enough money for supplies.

“If you have $400 to spend and it’s either books for the classroom or a recess cart, you get the books,” said Joseph Hailpern, principal of Edison School in north suburban Morton Grove. A photograph of a red shopping cart overflowing with balls and hula hoops figures prominently on a DonorsChoose page for the school. The caption reads: “Recess Cart in Need of TLC, No More Shopping Carts!”

Did you know in 2010, 92 percent of United States teachers spent a collective sum of $1.3 billion out of pocket for school supplies. How much is one billion? To put it into perspective, one billion seconds ago was the Cuban Missile Crisis and prior to our moon landing. A billion minutes ago the Roman Empire was in full swing. If these analogies aren’t helping, suffice it to know that some teachers spend over $1000 of their own earnings in order to do their job and teach our kids. Take Teresa Jazo as an example.

“When Teresa Jazo, a music teacher at Bateman Elementary School in Chicago, ran out of her school-allotted supply of paper in October, she bought more with her own money. Then, she went online to DonorsChoose.org, an Internet-based educational charity outfitting many of the nation’s classrooms, and asked the worldwide Internet community to buy her enough for the rest of the year. ‘Can we learn new music?” Jazo posted. “Sorry we have no paper!’ Within a week, she had her paper.”

DonorsChoose.org is a great way to get involved, or check out the great stuff we’re up to! Urban School foundation is working closely with Chicago schools to supply the homeless and low income students in our city and suburban schools. Learn more about what we’re doing, and consider donating a backpack full of supplies to a student in need. Click here for more information.

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