Ambika Kapur, Officer, Special Projects, National Program and Rose Schapiro, Program Analyst, New Designs for K-16 Pathways
While Carnegie Corporation of New York funds education programs across the United States, we often find ourselves looking globally for examples of how to serve students best. Many of our grantees, from school districts to nonprofits to universities, also deeply consider how their work fits in with reforms happening around the world. That’s why we were happy to see the theme of this year’s Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference — Education on a Global Stage. Staff from our National Program spent several days in Miami discussing the challenges of improving student achievement nationwide with our colleagues at other foundations and with some of our grantees.
Grantmakers for Education brings together staff from foundations to learn more about the issues that are most pressing and quickly evolving in our education systems—topics ranging from curricula that allow for flexibility in learning styles, to Common Core State Standards, to supports for English Language Learners. This year’s international lens also focused on successful practices in countries such as Germany, Canada, Singapore, and Finland. The agenda included a diverse range of speakers, topics, and site visits, plus presentations from teachers, scientists, policy experts, and researchers who talked about topics such as early childhood, arts, and STEM.
A highlight for us was a chance to learn from our colleagues at other foundations and to hear about their strategies and successes. A session on the Common Core featured Corporation grantee Achieve and educators speaking on ways to help teachers and students implement the new standards. We also appreciated the chance to discuss the promise of the Common Core with our colleagues from Helios Education Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust, Hewlett Foundation, Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Broad Foundation, and Schusterman Family Foundation – all funders of the Collaborative for Student Success (CSS). CSS is an example of foundations working together to improve college and career readiness for K-12 students throughout the country. It comprises eight foundations collaborating on a project that works to engage educators, parents, and students in a fact-based conversation about the Common Core and aligned, high-quality assessments. It’s always a privilege to hear from our colleagues and grantees about what it will take to truly help teachers and students deliver on the promise of these internationally-benchmarked standards.