Is Chicago up to the Annenberg Challenge? If so, it could mean nearly $100 million in grants for Chicago public schools and an incalculable boost for local school reform.
At a White House ceremony last Dec. 17, billionaire philanthropist Walter Annenberg pledged $500 million toward improving public schools and reducing school violence. Since the announcement of that largest-ever gift to public education in the country, school reform groups in Chicago and other major cities have been working on grant proposals for Annenberg and his advisers. But they face a challenge: Annenberg's dollars must be matched by money raised privately.
A group of Chicago educators, foundation officials, community activists and others, including an assistant to Chicago Public Schools Supt. Argie Johnson, have worked this year on a grant proposal, which they hope to complete and submit by Nov. 1 to the Annenberg National Institute for School Reform at Brown University in Rhode Island.