The model of NYC Private Schools’ competition for top students was mentioned in a NY Post article that heralded the arrival of the Gates Foundation/Viacom educational venture.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with Viacom Inc.’s television networks, education leaders and celebrities to launch an awareness campaign to reduce the number of dropouts.[in American Schools] The foundation, started by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, has invested more than $2 billion in educational programs since 2000.
“People should understand how the system is falling short today and how it really contradicts our commitment to equal opportunity,” Gates told The Associated Press. “If we don’t change it now, it will hurt the future of the country as a whole.”
The new educational initiative will use Viacom media outlets as a conduit for the powerful messages on academics and determination as well as educational reform changes.
The “Get Schooled” initiative focuses on low graduation rates in college and high school and the accountability of teachers. Gates criticized the practice of salaries rewarding seniority over proven efficacy, calling it a detriment to quality education.
It is no surprise that Viacom was chosen to get the message out, as they have had wildly popular marketing success with children and teens.
The Viacom chief, whose networks also include VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and Logo, said he told Gates a year ago, “We know kids, we know how to reach them; if you provide the substance we can be the megaphone.”
At a Los Angeles event to launch the “Get Schooled” campaign, New York City schools chief Joel Klein said he was hopeful the approach would succeed because “trying to get traction with the millions and millions of kids in school is something that’s been a challenge.”
“When you bring the resources and the vision that the Gates family and foundation has, coupled with the distribution assets that Viacom has – the role models, the glitz they can produce – it feels like a good mix of stuff that will capture kids,” Klein said.
Privately operated schools undertook fresh approaches to schooling, had happier teachers and inspired healthy competition in achievement among New York City schools, said Klein.
If children and students are going to be glued to their TVs, at least the message being put out will be a positive one for education.