Role of private funders in New York City schools initiative still unclear

A bus drives by a school
A bus drives by a school

Role of private funders in New York City schools initiative still unclear

XQ and the Robin Hood Foundation will help shape the creation and overhaul of 40 schools
November 12, 2019

Today is the first deadline for community organizations, educators and students to submit applications for ideas on how to reimagine 40 New York City schools, as part of a city partnership with XQ and the Robin Hood Foundation, The 74 reports. The first round of applications will then lead to a period of designing plans more thoroughly, with vague guidance to encourage flexibility and creativity.

But the role XQ and Robin Hood – which have contributed $10 million and $5 million, respectively, to the initiative – will play is still unclear. A spokeswoman with XQ told Chalkbeat New York that XQ will “co-create” a rubric for picking proposals for high schools, while a spokesman with the city education department told the news organization: “XQ will not decide on whether a project is greenlit; they will decide whether to put their name and financial support behind the 10 of 40 projects they are supporting.” Robin Hood has remained mum on the details of its support as well.

XQ, which is backed by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, has faced criticism for questionable claims underlying its education work regarding the economy and the future of work. Robin Hood, which funds a range of anti-poverty programs, has been involved in funding numerous New York City charter school networks, including Achievement First, Uncommon Schools and Success Academy Charter Schools, which is one of the city’s most controversial charter school operators. And in addition to the current partnership to create and revamp 40 schools, Robin Hood is looking to expand its charter school support by contributing another $10 million to create 18 new charter schools over a similar time frame.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.