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Hechinger Institute Receives Grant From the Broad Foundation for K-12 Reporters

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Richard Lee Colvin

Richard Lee Colvin

The Broad Foundation has given the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College a grant to support an annual seminar for journalists specializing in writing about K-12 education in each of the next three years. The first seminar in the series is scheduled for the fall of 2004.

The new $270,000 grant builds on a relationship between the Institute and the Foundation that began in 2002 with a seminar on "The Ins and Outs of School Boards"; in 2003, the Foundation made possible a seminar on "Charter Schools and Other Choices." Possible topics for the upcoming Hechinger Institute seminars to be supported with the Broad grant include urban schools, teacher unions, reading instruction, the principalship, suburban schools and school finance.

"The Hechinger Institute is helping to change the face of public education by educating and inspiring the next generation of news reporters," said Dan Katzir, managing director of the Broad Foundation. "Accurate and insightful news coverage of K-12 public education reform provides the American public with a real tool to hold our nation's school systems accountable. Meaningful coverage of innovations in education as well as failures helps educators share best practices and lessons learned. As a national funder focused on improving education in urban cities, we are proud to join forces with Hechinger."

The Foundation was established in 1999 with a $100 million grant from Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe. That amount was later increased to over $400 million.

"The Broad Foundation is taking the lead on a number of important issues-leadership, incentives, school district management and recognizing success and effort," said Richard Lee Colvin, the Director of the Hechinger Institute. "I'm very pleased that Mr. Broad and his staff at the foundation not only see the value of media coverage of these and other education issues that is fair, accurate and insightful but that they are willing to invest in helping make that happen."

Eli Broad is chairman of AIG SunAmerica Inc., a leading financial services company, and is the founder and chairman of KB Home, formerly known as the Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. The foundation awards the Broad Prize in Urban Education, which distributes $1 million to a winning school district and four finalists to be used for scholarships or other postsecondary training. The Foundation also funds the Broad Center for Superintendents, the Broad Institute for School Boards and the Broad Residency in Urban Education, to help young business leaders bring their management expertise to urban school districts.

The new grant will enable the Hechinger Institute to continue growing. The Institute, named after Fred M. Hechinger, the former education editor at the New York Times and a Trustee of the College, was created in 1996 by Teachers College President Arthur Levine to help the nation's journalists deepen their knowledge of education and hone the craft. The Institute's first seminar was held in July of 1997 and since then it has organized five to six seminars annually featuring top national experts.

In 2003, the Institute conducted nine seminars, the most ever in one year, for over 200 journalists. Most of the nation's major newspapers-including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Dallas Morning News-sent reporters, editors or editorial writers to the seminars. Ten events are being planned for 2004. Five will be for regional audiences of journalists on the subject of the role of principals and superintendents in boosting academic achievement. That work is supported by a grant from The Wallace Foundation.

In addition to grants from Broad and Wallace, the Institute has received new financial support in the past year from the Ford Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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