Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Alliance for Education Annual Report

The Alliance for Education has released their annual report for 2012.

Let's have a look.

First the Alliance notes that graduation rates are way up and that Seattle schools outscored the state averages. Then they say that the same 74% 4-year graduation rate they just crowed about is no good at all, that a (not entirely coincidental) 74% of third graders read at grade level, and that only 67% of seventh graders passed the math MSP. I wonder why they didn't choose to report the 64% of eighth graders instead. They also note that "Unconscionable achievement gaps between student groups persist."

On the next slide the Alliance describes itself as a "critical friend" to the district and lists their achievements for the year.

They enrolled 92% of eligible 8th graders into the Washington State College Bound scholarship program.

I had no idea that it was the Alliance that did that. That only leaves 8% of them to be enrolled by everyone else.

They also take credit for handling other people's money. They don't say that they did a very good job of it, but I guess that's what critical friends do - they handle other people's money. They take credit for "managing" $1.4 million in direct gifts to schools as the fiscal agent for PTAs and booster groups. They don't tell you that these groups get a 0% return on the money that the Alliance manages for them.

They give themselves credit for promoting themselves through the Our Schools Coalition and for acting as a leader to launch the Seattle Teacher Residency program.

To me, it looks like a pretty short list of actual accomplishments by the Alliance. Instead, it looks like the Alliance is trying to take credit for a lot of work by other people.

The third slide is about all the money they raised, only they never mention how much money they raised. By the way, there is a surprising correlation between the corporate donors they list here and their Board of Directors.

The money raised appears on the next slide: $3.9 million. It doesn't say if this includes the donations to groups for whom the Alliance acted as fiscal agent. Sources are given in percentages and the Endowment is listed as 5%, so this doesn't tell us anything about their financials at all.

After several slides with a lot of self-congratulatory blah, blah, blah, they announce their priorities for 2013:

"We will continue to lean in - with out heads and our hearts - to the success of our public schools."

Wow. Impressive priorities. Definitely what I would call "mission-driven", "bold", and "outcome oriented".

What pointless blather.


mirmac1 said...

Gee, I could do a helluva lot with $$$M of Gates money. And I think I could claim credit for lots of stuff, too.

Anonymous said...

They emailed a link to me, I guess because I gave money to the Nathan Hale Annual Fund. I concur Charlie, the report was a waste of time to read. It did not look grass roots but rather very corporate driven and full of mindless corporate speak.