My colleague, Dr. John Nash, sent me two messages recently that I think are worth some attention. Like John, I agree that university educational leadership programs need to wake up to the implications of these funding decisions. Your thoughts?

Message 1

The Prudential Foundation gave $700,000 to New Leaders for New Schools for general operating support and to help expand the group's regional work in Newark, New Jersey.

I'd like to point out that the grant for New Leaders from Prudential was for general operating support!!!  Not for any particular part of their program – just to keep the lights on!

Prudential also gave $300,000 to Teach for America, which will use the funds to support its School Leadership Initiative and increase the number of alumni who enter school leadership positions in low-income communities,

TFA is going to run its own leadership program. Again, we're not needed.

These are two more big shots across the bow for our program, and all others in the country. Money is flowing like crazy to "innovative" programs like these and we have an opportunity to cherry pick the parts that a) we think are effective, and b) DE [the Iowa Department of Education] won't choke on and then use our new profile/program as a way to obtain external funds, such as those from foundations like Prudential, to expand and have greater impact.

Or we can wait for New Leaders, TFA, and others to show up and just take all our students. 

Full story here: http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=306900016

Message 2

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has announced a $20 million grant to the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems to continue recruiting, training, placing, and supporting school district leaders nationwide. See the full story here.

I'll note that the article states the gift comes on the heels of a favorable evaluation of the Broad Center's superintendent training program.

What the article doesn't note is that the evaluation was conducted internally by the Broad Center, which Dianne Ravitch has taken exception to.

FacepunchSetting aside for the moment whether the evaluation was any good (and it probably was), the big point is this: This is $20 million for a CAS-like program that is not university-based. [CAS is our superintendent preparation program]

In sum, in the last six weeks:

  • KIPP got $50M to groom their own principals from Obama.
  • New Leaders for New Schools got $700K from Prudential to groom their own principals.
  • TFA got $50M from Obama to expand and $300K from Prudential to groom their own principals.
  • Broad got $20M from their rich parent foundation to groom superintendents "their" way.

That's $121 million given away in the last 6 weeks. 

And we sit worrying if the DE [Iowa Department of Education] will let us be innovative.  Yikes.

Image credit: punch