Over the past year, I’ve written some fairly visible critiques of both “progressive” private foundations (see Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place) ) and “non-progressive” private foundations (see Gates Foundation Minimizing Great Tools For Helping Teachers Improve Their Craft).
I also wrote a very skeptical post about a planned meeting of funders last June to learn about English Language Learner issues (see Grantmakers Meet To Discuss ELL’s — Will Anything Positive Come From It?). My skepticism was especially grounded in the fact that, though they had academics and researchers there to talk about ELL issues, they didn’t invite any K-12 teacher or anyone from a grassroots organization working on immigrant and/or education issues.
Thanks to Mary Ann Zehr at Education Week (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you teach ELL’s, you need to read Mary Ann’s blog), I learned that the funders group just came out with their report about the meeting.
My original skepticism seems well-founded.
The report, though I’m sure well-meaning, seems like an extended laundry list of just about every idea out there related to English Language Learners. Without a focus on a very small handful of ideas, and without some very specific strategies to make them a reality, reports like this just gather dust in the file cabinets (or their “virtual” equivalent nowadays) of foundations throughout the country.
Coming up with practical ideas and practical ways to achieve them…um, I wonder who has experience doing that? Oh, yeah, teachers of English Language Learners and leaders and organizers of grassroots organizations — the same people who didn’t get invited to the meeting…