Thursday, December 25, 2008

Excerpt from Steve Diamond - $500 Million Wasted

See below an excerpt from Professor Steve Diamond about the success of Barack Obama as chair of Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Initial grant was $49.5 million from Annenberg, later matched 2-1 by other foundations: McArthur foundation $17.1 million, Joyce Foundation 11 million, Polk $6.8 million, Woods -$1 million and so on. Total $160 million raised. According to Steve Diamond, with funds swap there was as much as $500 million. Where did that money go? The program was a total failure. After 8 years (1995-2003) Chicago student's scores in Annenberg schools were not any better than in the comparable schools all around. CAC was dissolved and remaining funds were transferred to Chicago Public Education Funds. $500 million just down the drain. It looks like the only benefit was - connections Barack Obama developed with the wealthy donors. Can anybody check if any of these foundations donated to Barack Obama's campaign and how much?

At any rate it would give you an idea of the dimensions of failure we will have in store for us if, God forbid, he will be sworn in and will be in the office for a long time.


In 2003 the final technical report of the CCSR on the CAC was published. The results were not pretty. The “bottom line”, according to the report, was that the CAC did not achieve its goal for improvement in student academic achievement and nonacademic outcomes. While student test scores improved in the so-called Annenberg Schools that received some of the $150 million disbursed in the six years from 1995 to 2001.

“This was similar to improvement across the system….There were no statistically significant differences in student achievement between Annenberg schools and demographically similar non-Annenberg schools. This indicates that there was no Annenberg effect on achievement.”

The report identified the political conflict between the Local School Council promotion efforts of the CAC – such as the $2 million Leadership Development Initiative - as a possible factor hindering a positive impact on student achievement.

Conclusion: an academic failure but political success?

The Challenge allowed Barack Obama and Bill Ayers to work together, no doubt closely, in the heat of political battle to help disburse more than $100 million to allies, particularly in the LSCs, in the Chicago School system.

Under the circumstances, it seems more than a bit disingenuous of Senator Obama to dismiss Bill Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood.”

Originally posted by Steve Diamond

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