California’s “byzantine” state funding system explained by the LAT:
Explaining how we got here is pretty simple. The first step was a pair of state Supreme Court decisions in the 1970s Serrano vs. Priest case, which required the state to reduce disparities in education funding between rich and poor school districts. Then came 1978’s Proposition 13, which cut the guts out of the property tax, the source of 60% of school funding at that time.
In response to these events, the state largely took over responsibility for school funding from local authorities. Pre-Serrano and Proposition 13, the state provided 34% of K-12 funding. Today it’s 67%.
With such dire economic circumstances, I find the efforts of organizations like NewSchools Venture Fund to be a bit of an antidote. NSVF is a venture philanthropy firm that (a) identifies the highest level of educational entrepreneurs, (b) provides them with financial support for proof-of-concept, capacity building, and scaling efforts, and (c) connects these change agents together so as to build more effective and efficient organizations.
Three key leverage points shape their portfolio of entrepreneurial organizations dedicated to effecting education reform:
- People (e.g., Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, The New Teachers Project)
- School structures (e.g., Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Revolution Foods)
- Tools (e.g., greatschools.net, Success for All, Wireless Generation)
Fund 1 (1998-2002) raised $20M to test the waters of social investing and the venture philanthropy model.
Fund II (2002-06) raised $50M primarily to support the development of charter management organizations (CMOs) and Entrepreneurial Charter Schools.
Fund III (2006-10) raised $75M primarily to support the scaling of CMOs as research and design labs for “what works” in school innovation.
Fund IV (2010-13) will raise a still-TBD amount of money to support human capital efforts and initiatives.
NewSchools’ inspiring 10-year report, “Investing in a Revolution: NewSchools Venture Fund and America’s Education Entrepreneurs,” can be downloaded here.
Below is a fun little video of some of the edu-preneurs in the NSVF portfolio:
And here is a link that will take you to a series of lectures by Kim Smith, co-founder and CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, delivered at Stanford University about the hybridized environment of business people and educators: http://academicearth.org/courses/new-schools-venture-fund-investing-in-entrepreneurship-in-education
Entry filed under: think. Tags: education funding, financial education, J. R. Atwood, Jason Atwood, Kim Smith, NewSchools Venture Fund, NSVF, school innovation, Serrano v Priest, social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy.