Hewlett Foundation Awards $900,000 Grant for Education Reform

By Chandra Alexandre

Last Week, the Education Reform team at the Bay Area Council was notified by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that they had been awarded a $900,000 three-year grant to lead a statewide education reform movement. The grant will allow the Bay Area Council to build capacity and support efforts toward statewide education reform in partnership with relevant stakeholders.

With California in crisis, we believe there is an opportunity for reform that hasn’t been seen in generations. With this grant from the Hewlett Foundation, we will continue to help drive the education reform consensus forward—particularly through our work engaging business leaders, both among our membership and in companies throughout other regions across the state. As the voice of business, the Council recognizes that it is critical for California to meet the challenges of education reform through sound and timely information, a strategic alignment of voices among business, K-12 educators, policy makers and higher education, and the ability to work together across communities, jurisdictions and industries.

The needs of our children and sustenance of our state’s economic future require that business takes a stand to help ameliorate the dramatic challenges inherent in our current public education system. The Council’s history of leading on public policy, its statewide approach, and partnerships with a variety of stakeholders make it a strong driver of successful public policy in education, and we will leverage our strengths to ensure the success of our endeavors for education reform.

With this grant, the Council will be able to focus on initiating action toward goals supported by Getting Down to Facts, a major body of research overseen by Stanford University that delves into the finance and governance of public education in California. The objective of our efforts will be to determine how best to create reform opportunities that are not only true to the underlying research and recommendations, but also that allow for input and ownership by all major stakeholders, in turn building trust and momentum statewide.

Recognizing that changes in education cannot be successful in a state whose government is broken, the grant also includes funds to utilize the forum of the Council-led California Constitutional Convention to help build the path for education reform. The idea is to start with reforming the structure of government, then quickly draft on the momentum to secure bold and systematic change in education. Our method of harnessing a “people’s movement” and building an unlikely coalition for the Constitutional Convention could also crack open the door for a new alliance on education reform. Together, the two synergistic education and government reform movements can help California get back on its feet again.

For more information on the work the Council is doing in education and to become engaged in our effort, please contact Linda Galliher, Vice President of Education and Healthcare. For an opportunity to contribute as a supporting partner, please contact Chandra Alexandre, Director of Development and click here to see the Bay Area Council Foundation’s initiatives.

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