Beyond Bricks and Mortar
I agree with Bruce that the U.S economy is worsening, and many sectors are at tough times, especially the education sector, which relies much on federal funding. The only way forward is to devise measures to improve policies on education while moderating the effects of the economic woos on American schools. Investment in education has long-term benefits, including better life, increased domestic product, and more productive economies; hence, no matter how terrible the economy is, it is helpful to invest more in schools. In the article, Bruce has suggested some ways to improve educational policies and improve the economy, which attract criticism.
First, he suggests a ‘merit pay’ mechanism whereby teachers’ payment or remuneration will be based on performance. Yes, I agree with him that performance-based remuneration promotes and encourages teachers to work extra hard some times. But the problem with such arrangement is that some students are low achievers, so assessing teachers based on performance is not justifiable. Again, some teachers work in challenging schools and others teach subjects which are a bit difficult compared to others. Hence paying teachers on a performance basis will demoralize some teachers bearing in mind that all teachers do not work in the same environment.
Bruce further suggests reducing total funding to schools while increasing much spending in classrooms. Increasing classroom funding means paying more to teachers and acquiring more stationery for students to enhance direct teaching. This attempt would prove a failure because we should balance schools’ infrastructures and teaching practices. Paying teachers more salaries without increasing the number of classrooms as more students are enrolled would prove difficult for smooth learning.
Venture philanthropists pitch in for Chicago’s schools
The act of philanthropy in education is helpful in education matters as it brings free resources into schools. The article by Anrons pictures how venture philanthropists in Chicago have helped schools grow. It is not surprising that venture philanthropy is practiced by wealthy people with large organizations competing with others, resulting in a business clash. Although Aarons has painted such venture philanthropists in Chicago as helpful, she has failed to recognize that apart from helping society, their primary aim of participating in such activities is to promote their public image.
Usually, venture philanthropists tend to use multi-million dollar profits to improve their public appearance or market themselves inform of extending a hand to assist the community they work with them. They use their financial strength to build public reputation alongside helping the society around them. One thing with venture philanthropists is that they assist for a specific period and hence may leave some society problems unsolved.
Venture philanthropists write checks and participate in implementing projects they start, and others demand the recipient organization to achieve specific social goals. This may sound to be venture capitalists rather than a venture philanthropy as it was believed to be. Members of the venture philanthropists companies sitting oninboard of their recipient schools and participating in such schools’ decision-making may be viewed as if they own such schools. “Traditionally philanthropists only wrote checks to the recipient organization and left the rest to the management of those organization.” (Henry, 2006) They knew that they were better at availing capital than doing the actual work, which to them was better to give such organization room to do their work.
Henry Blodget. 2006. Why venture philanthropy is important, even if it sounds ridiculous. Web.