Great Expectations

'All done, all gone!' - John McLenan on Harpers Weekly, 1 June 1861

With a Hefty Education Grant Come Equally Great Expectations
Gates Foundation Provides Money, and Mandates

Jacqueline L. Salmon writes on the Washington Post

Irasema Salcido‘s heart raced when she pulled the letter from a stack of mail in her Capitol Hill office. She tore open the envelope. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to award the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools a grant in the amount of $1,570,000. . . .

Salcido rocketed into her staff’s offices to share the news. She had landed what thousands of other nonprofit organizations are chasing: a Gates grant. One of the world’s largest charitable foundations, the most important sponsor of efforts to improve U.S. schools after the government, believed in her seven-year-old educational experiment.

That moment in September 2005 marked the launch of a partnership between a Harvard-educated daughter of migrant farm workers and a charity built on the fortune of a billionaire Harvard dropout.

If all went as planned, two Cesar Chavez schools would become four. Then four might become more. With that jackpot letter, the Chavez school motto — “Sí, se puede! Yes, it can be done!” — seemed to have become “Yes, it will be done!”

“I thought, ‘Well, Gates, they’re probably going to give us the money, and we’re very thankful, and that’s that,’ ” Salcido recalled.

But Gates money doesn’t just come with dreams. It also comes with demands.

Read the full article here

[via Jon]

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