Critical Contributions: Philanthropic Investment in Teachers and Teaching
This report from the University of Georgia and Kronley and Associates analyzes the evolution of philanthropic giving to teachers and teaching over the past 150 years (with a focus on the 2000s). While the dollar amounts doled out to these types of programs pale in comparison to overall K-12 spending, there is much about their directional flow that is worth noting. From 2000 to 2008, national and regional philanthropies donated over $680 million to improve K-12 teachers and teaching—with close to a third of that money going to Teach For America. And it’s not just because of TFA’s strong track record or stellar fundraising team (though these reasons play a part)—funders have prioritized teacher-recruitment efforts over the last decade and have targeted investment in organizations they feel have strong leadership. Moreover, funders are becoming much more hands-on about the money they hand out. They’re learning lessons from ineffective philanthropic giving and targeting their resources to policies they feel bring about change, like alternative-certification pathways and performance-based evaluations and pay. It’s hard to say whether all of this money has added up to improved teacher effectiveness, but the direction in which it is going is certainly promising.
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Kathleen deMarrais, Arthur M. Horne, Karen E. Watkins, Claire Suggs, Robert A. Kronley, and Kate Shropshire Swett, “Critical Contributions: Philanthropic Investment in Teaching and Teachers,” (Atlanta, GA: Kronley and Associates, Athens, GA: University of Georgia, July 2011).
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