A new report examines TV Guide magnate and former Ambassador Walter Annenberg’s $500 million grant to improve schools – and questions what the money accomplished, The Washington Post reports.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation report, titled “Can Philanthropy Fix Our Schools,” commends Annenberg’s generosity but claims he failed to accomplish what he had hoped with the contribution.
“The essential idea on which philanthropy is based – that what public schools most lack is expertise and that talented and motivated outsiders working with the system can provide this – is itself erroneous,” the report states.
The study of New York schools that benefited from the grant found that modest improvement in reading and math scores paralleled other reform efforts, the Post says.
Fordham Foundation president Chester E. Finn Jr. says the school-by-school approach adopted by Annenberg has limited potential in a school system that needs a complete overhaul, the Post said.
Vargan Gregorian — who helped launch the Annenberg program — challenges the report, claiming Annenberg’s $500 million contribution is miniscule in a $300 billion public education system enterprise.