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Chicago Goes After Corporations to Boost School Budget

In one Chicago elementary school, students learn to balance checkbooks and take classes in a boardroom-like setting. In another, lawyers develop classes on fairness and justice, and offer free legal advice. It's part of the Chicago school district's push to pump up its budge and better prepare the future work force by getting corporations more involved in the classroom. While the district has long attracted private donations, it's getting more creative, promoting charter schools that are actually sponsored by businesses.
In one Chicago elementary school, students learn to balance checkbooks and take classes in a boardroom-like setting. In another, lawyers develop classes on fairness and justice, and offer free legal advice. It's part of the Chicago school district's push to pump up its budge and better prepare the future work force by getting corporations more involved in the classroom. While the district has long attracted private donations, it's getting more creative, promoting charter schools that are actually sponsored by businesses.

One of the newest is Legacy Charter School, which began with $1 million from Chicago law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP. Former managing partner Errol Stone took a year off from his job to help develop the school, which includes courses on fairness and justice. Ariel Community Academy, a public school of 407 students on the
Chicago's South Side, is subsidized by Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Capital Management LLC. That school has been operating for nine years, with a strong focus on financial literacy programs.

Clive Belfield, associate director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia Teachers College in New York, said while the Chicago examples are interesting, it's unclear whether their success can be replicated elsewhere. "Schools are a bit like restaurants - they run on the fumes of enthusiasm," he said. "The trouble with enthusiasm is that it's very difficult to sustain. There are a couple of cases of very smart people running very good schools, but these great people can't be copied over
into different situations."

This article, written by Megan Reichgott, appeared in the November 6th, 2005 publication of The Associated Press.

Published Monday, Nov. 7, 2005

Chicago Goes After Corporations to Boost School Budget

In one Chicago elementary school, students learn to balance checkbooks and take classes in a boardroom-like setting. In another, lawyers develop classes on fairness and justice, and offer free legal advice. It's part of the Chicago school district's push to pump up its budge and better prepare the future work force by getting corporations more involved in the classroom. While the district has long attracted private donations, it's getting more creative, promoting charter schools that are actually sponsored by businesses.

One of the newest is Legacy Charter School, which began with $1 million from Chicago law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP. Former managing partner Errol Stone took a year off from his job to help develop the school, which includes courses on fairness and justice. Ariel Community Academy, a public school of 407 students on the
Chicago's South Side, is subsidized by Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Capital Management LLC. That school has been operating for nine years, with a strong focus on financial literacy programs.

Clive Belfield, associate director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia Teachers College in New York, said while the Chicago examples are interesting, it's unclear whether their success can be replicated elsewhere. "Schools are a bit like restaurants - they run on the fumes of enthusiasm," he said. "The trouble with enthusiasm is that it's very difficult to sustain. There are a couple of cases of very smart people running very good schools, but these great people can't be copied over
into different situations."

This article, written by Megan Reichgott, appeared in the November 6th, 2005 publication of The Associated Press.

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