This article in GOOD about the poorly managed good intentions behind the i3 grants is spot on: money went to allegiances, and to the estabilshment that was already set up to “guide” education innovation. The money did not go to real and ingenious startups, among them the smaller entities headed up by hard-working and risk-taking entrepreneurs.
Here’s a quotation from the article, but go and read it for yourself. It is written by Philissa Cramer of Gotham Schools, and quotes a former public relations staffer from NewSchools Venture Fund, Julie Landry Petersen.
But a funny thing happened on the way to innovation. When the first multimillion-dollar grants were awarded last year, they went to some of the country’s most established education nonprofits—to allow them to keep doing pretty much what they had been doing. For example, the two largest prizes, $50 million each, went to the KIPP Foundation (one of the most established charter school networks) and Teach for America to expand their famously well-oiled human capital machines. Smaller “development” grants of $3 million to $5 million each helped school districts bulk up their arts programming or data analysis.