By the numbers

Mark Zuckerberg’s education giving so far has topped $300 million. Here’s a list of where it’s going

Read our full story on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s education giving here.

Chalkbeat attempted to compile grants issued or promised in 2016 or later and classified as part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s education giving. This includes 19 grants provided by CZI, as well as information provided by other organizations or available publicly. We aimed to exclude education-oriented grants focused on Silicon Valley, which CZI classifies separately.

What we collected includes over 50 groups and about $137 million of the $308 million CZI says it has donated to education-related causes.

It’s highly likely that not every group CZI has donated to is on this list, and we don’t how much money some groups on it received. It’s also possible that some organizations on this list received additional grants that aren’t accounted for.

Finally, we also listed a number of for-profit education companies that CZI has invested in; that’s not part of the $308 million number.

Here’s our list:

Organizations that have received grants from CZI

Reach Every Reader

Grant Amount: $30 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We are supporting Reach Every Reader, a new initiative aimed at gaining a better understanding of how children learn to read so we can ensure that all can thrive and succeed as readers from an early age. This initiative is led by cutting-edge neuroscience and education research teams from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Integrated Learning Initiative, in partnership with The Florida Center for Reading Research and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.”

College Board

Grant Amount: $13.9 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “With our support, the College Board has expanded access for more than 500,000 students to unique, personalized learning opportunities – including customized SAT practice through Khan Academy, Advanced Placement computer science courses and peer advising through the National College Advising Corps.”

LEAP Innovations

Grant Amount: $10 million
Grant Reason – CZI:“We’re supporting these organizations [LEAP and Chicago Public Schools] to help meet the growing demand from Chicago schools looking to introduce or expand personalized learning instructional models.”

Teach For America

Grant Amount: $10 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “This grant has supported the development of an organization-wide learning strategy, building capacity for rapid learning within the regional affiliate network, and accelerating TFA’s work on increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the educator pipeline.”

EducationSuperHighway

Grant Amount: $8 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We have supported the work of this organization to help increase the internet connectivity of classrooms across America.”

Turnaround for Children

Grant Amount: $7 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our grant assists Turnaround for Children with bringing new knowledge to the field about how to effectively implement and integrate tools to help achieve personalization of learning for all students.”

New Profit

Grant Amount: $6,511,962
Grant Reason – New Profit spokesperson: “For our efforts to support more diverse entrepreneurs in education, we received $500K from CZI in 2017. For our Personalized Learning initiative, which seeks to build capacity and evidence in the nascent field, we received $6,011,962 from CZI in 2017.”

New Schools Venture Fund

Grant Amount: $5 million +

SAGA Innovations

Grant Amount: $5 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our support is helping SAGA refine and expand their evidence-based program on intensive tutoring for students who are behind and increasing effectiveness and lowering cost for delivery.”

Pahara Institute

Grant Amount: $4.3 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We have supported the organization’s fellowships to provide challenging and supportive leadership programs for entrepreneurial leaders in education.”

Chicago Public Schools

Grant Amount: $4 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We’re supporting these organizations [LEAP and Chicago Public Schools] to help meet the growing demand from Chicago schools looking to introduce or expand personalized learning instructional models.”

Vision to Learn

Grant Amount: $3.3 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “With our support, the organization has provided eyeglasses to tens of thousands of children in the San Francisco Bay area and across the country, removing a critical learning barrier for students without access to vision care. They have given out more than 110,000 glasses to date.”

Chiefs for Change

Grant Amount: $3 million
Grant Reason – Chiefs for Change spokesperson: The grant was for a “transforming schools and systems workgroup.”

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Grant Amount: $3 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Grant supports the Woodrow Wilson Teaching and Learning Academy’s efforts to help people studying to be teachers to learn at their own pace, personalizing their learning experience, and connecting what they learn to evidence-based learning approaches.”

Results for America

Grant Amount: $2.9 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We support RFA’s work to improve the use of evidence in shaping policy among state and district education agencies through their What Works Districts initiative and their State Education Leaders Evidence Fellowship program.”

Together For Students, a partnership between The Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools, and StriveTogether

Grant Amount: $2,283,200
Grant Reason – Communities in Schools spokesperson: “Together for Students (formerly known as Students at the Center) is an initiative designed to advance a student-centered learning movement that unites families, educators and local partners. The grant supports: the work of 10 communities as they design localized blueprints to improve student learning experiences; the three partner organizations as they provide training and technical assistance to the 10 communities, and a February 2018 convening of 106 communities interested in applying for the project.”

Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation

Grant Amount: $2.25 million
Grant Reason – CDEF: “CDEF partnered with the California Department of Education (CDE) and technology company Declara to launch the Collaboration In Common (CiC) platform and support the state’s #GoOpen campaign. CiC provides a social network for professional learning communities that provides tools and resources to promote sharing and collaboration between educators and educational organizations across the state. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant will be used to support CiC and enhancements to the Declara platform to accelerate personalized learning and professional growth.”

New Teacher Center

Grant Amount: $1.7 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our grant supports their work to develop and provide professional development support on personalized learning strategies to educators.”

The Opportunity Institute

Grant Amount: $1,524,534

Grant Reason – Opportunity Institute: CZI is supporting the group’s Science of Learning and Development Initiative, which aims to “elevate the science of learning and development as a key driver of system transformation in education policy and practice, advancing deep personalization of learning and the learning experience to support all students in achieving their full potential.”

CZI is also supporting the Partners for Each and Every Child, “to build an infrastructure of interconnected work that will encourage a growing portion of the education policy community to break down barriers to advance sound educational policies, attentive to matters of equity and responsive to the needs of at-risk, under-served, and politically underrepresented students.”

Rhode Island Office of Innovation

Grant Amount: $1.5 million
Grant Reason – RI Office of Innovation spokesperson: The grant is going “to support the state’s personalized learning initiative.”

Digital Promise

Grant Amount: $1.4 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our grant supports their efforts to pilot and refine solutions to collaborative challenges around real-world learning through the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, their flagship network that represents 93 districts in 33 states.”

TNTP

Grant Amount: $1.25 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our grant supports TNTP’s work on understanding student engagement and supporting the personalized learning efforts of partner school districts.”

Harvard Graduate School of Education and Stephanie Jones

Grant Amount: $1.1 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “Our grant supports efforts to research and develop simple strategies and classroom activities for teachers to easily incorporate social-emotional learning into their classrooms.”

Education Post

Grant Amount: $1 million
Grant Reason – Education Post executive director: Half of the grant went to general operating support and half went to Education Post’s California blog La Comadre.

Surge Institute

Grant Amount: $1 million
Grant Reason – CZI: “We have supported Surge’s efforts to elevate and support leaders of color.”

Lindsay Unified School District

Grant Amount: $775,000
Grant Reason – Lindsay Unified’s website: The grant is to “advance Lindsay’s Performance Based System.”

CASEL

Grant Amount: $750,000
Grant Reason – CZI: “We are supporting CASEL’s engagement of key leaders and advisors to ensure that their framework and the broad definition of social and emotional learning (SEL) reflects the latest science and best practices in the field. Findings will inform the continued development and refinement of CASEL’s suite of practical resources to support those in the field prioritizing this work.”

Common Sense Media

Grant Amount: $750,000
Grant Reason – Common Sense Media spokesperson: Two-year grant is “for our Privacy Evaluations and our overall Education programs … Common Sense rates and reviews ed tech products on the degree to which they protect student privacy and security. We publish these ratings on the Common Sense education website as a complement to our overall Ed Tech Ratings to evaluate learning quality. CZI is one of three funders of the initiative.”

International Society for Technology in Education

Grant Amount: $720,000
Grant Reason – CZI: “We are supporting this organization as it examines new strategies to incorporate learning science into professional learning for educators.”

EdSurge

Grant Amount: $700,000
Grant Reason – July post on EdSurge: Grant is for a research project meant “to explore how school communities across the country are changing to meet the needs of all learners.” The project includes “convening educators and school leaders” and “a collection of stories.”

ReSchool Colorado

Grant Amount: $700,000
Grant Reason – ReSchool Colorado spokesperson: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative granted $700,000 to support ReSchool’s Learner Advocate Network and out of school work. To date, we have received $350,000.”

Edutopia

Grant Amount: $500,000
Grant Reason – Edutopia spokesperson: The grant is “to assist Edutopia with producing and publishing a video series for and in collaboration with the National Commission on Social Emotional and Academic Development: profiling schools with impactful approaches to social, emotional and academic development and translating research into practice.”

Council of Chief State School Officers

Grant Amount: $388,938
Grant Reason – CCSSO spokesperson: “This year, we are using this grant funding as part of our efforts to support states that are working to expand access to quality personalized, competency-based education that will lead to improved outcomes for all students, largely through the creation of innovative assessment systems.”

Achievement First Public Charter Schools

Grant Amount: $350,000
Grant Reason – Achievement First spokesperson: Grant is for AF’s Greenfield program.

Education Leaders of Color

Grant Amount: $300,000
Grant Reason – Education Leaders of Color spokesperson: Grant is to “1) identify and equip the field with values-aligned leadership, 2) align our members toward common advancement of policies and practices, and 3) provide access to resources through the Boulder Fund.”

Chalkbeat

Grant Amount: $250,000
Grant Reason – CZI: “We support Chalkbeat’s coverage of education policy and practice.”

GO Public Schools

Grant Amount: $250,000
Grant Reason – GO Public Schools spokesperson: “A couple of years ago, GO received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to support efforts to refresh our policy agenda and explore launching in Fresno.” A report recently issued by GO acknowledges funding from CZI and others.

InnovateEDU

Grant Amount: $160,000
Grant Reason – InnovateEDU executive director: The grant was issued through the Silicon Schools Fund and used to create a “community of practice” known as Data Whiz among schools leaders and personalized learning managers.

Matthew Biel of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Grant Amount: $75,000
Grant Reason – CZI press release: Grant is for “piloting evidence-based approaches to promote self-care skills, stress management, and emotional wellbeing for teachers in the D.C. area.”

Center for American Progress

Grant Amount: $15,000
Grant Reason – CAP spokesperson: CZI grant is “to explore the science of learning. With their modest support and other foundation support, we held a convening to discuss options for improving education based on the latest research on how students learn best.”

Grantmakers for Education

Grant Reason: Sponsor of its annual conference.

Hechinger Report

Grant Reason – Hechinger: Grant “helps support our ‘Future of Learning’ coverage.”

Learning Policy Institute

Grant Reason – LPI spokesperson: “We are part of a consortium of organizations that is working on synthesizing evidence from the sciences of learning and development and drawing out the implications for practice.”

Newark schools

Grant Reason – CZI spokesperson: “As part of our commitment to Newark’s students and educators, we provided funding to meet emerging community needs identified by the district to ensure a smooth transition to local control.”

Summit Public Schools

Grant Reason – Summit spokesperson: “In our own schools in CA and WA we have used [CZI’s] support to:

  • Staff a dedicated Research & Development team to work on continuous improvement of the Summit Learning instructional approach;
  • Launch and operate a Teacher Residency Program, designed specifically to build a long-term, sustainable pipeline of diverse teachers prepared to lead high-quality, personalized instruction in Summit Learning classrooms
  • Purchase and construct school facilities.

The funding they provide also helps enable us to deliver the Summit Learning Program, for free, to schools across the country. This includes the cost of:

  • Three free professional development convenings each year for upwards of 2,500 educators in more than a dozen cities across the country
  • The creation of a robust, project-based teacher-created curriculum for grades 4-12.
  • A team of dedicated mentors who personally coach Summit Learning Program schools on an ongoing basis
  • A dedicated professional development team which builds and facilitates adult learning experiences.”

Other CZI grantees

  • Camelback Ventures
  • Character Lab
  • Charter School Growth Fund
  • Latinos for Education
  • New Leaders
  • New Classrooms
  • Project Evident

Companies that have received investments from CZI

  • Age of Learning
  • BYJU’s – The Learning App
  • RaiseMe
  • Ellevation
  • Panorama Education
  • Sawyer
  • Brightwheel
  • Varsity Tutors
  • MasteryConnect
  • VolleyLabs

Correction: A previous subheadline incorrectly identified organizations that received grants from CZI as exclusively nonprofits.

carry on

These 16 Denver charter schools won renewal from the school board

PHOTO: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post
Sebastian Cruz waves to Rev. Leon Kelly as he works with children in a classroom during his after-school program at Wyatt Academy in September 2018.

The Denver school board on Thursday night unanimously renewed agreements with 16 of the district’s charter schools. The lengths of those renewals, however, varied from one year to five years — and signaled the board’s confidence in the schools to deliver a quality education.

The board also accepted Roots Elementary’s decision to close and surrender its charter at the end of this school year. The Park Hill school is facing low enrollment and high costs.

Denver Public Schools is a charter-friendly school district that has for years shared tax revenue and school buildings with its 60 publicly funded, independently operated charter schools.

Every charter school in Denver has an agreement with the district that spells out how long it’s allowed to operate. To continue running after that time period, the charter school must seek renewal. The arrangement is part of the deal for charters: They get the flexibility to operate independently, but they must periodically prove to the district that they’re doing a good job.

The school board relies on one set of recommendations from Denver Public Schools staff and a second set of recommendations from a districtwide parent committee in deciding how long a leash to give each charter school. The district staff and the parents on the committee consider factors such as test scores, school culture, financial viability, and the strength of a school’s leaders when making their recommendations.

They also consider a school’s rating on Denver Public Schools’ color-coded scale based largely on academic factors. The School Performance Framework, or SPF, labels schools either blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. Blue means a school has a distinguished academic record, while red means a school is not meeting the district’s expectations.

The staff recommended the school board renew the charters of all 16 schools that applied. Two other charter schools — DSST: Cole Middle School and Compass Academy — are also up for renewal this year. But because they earned the district’s lowest rating, they must go through a separate process in which they will present a detailed improvement plan. Their renewals will depend on the strength of their plans, which is why they weren’t included in this batch.

The board approved the 16 renewals Thursday without discussion. All of the new terms begin next school year. Here’s the rundown:

STRIVE Prep Federal, a middle school in southwest Denver
Year opened: 2006
School rating: Green
Renewal: Five years

DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School, a high school in far northeast Denver
Year opened: 2011
School rating: Green
Renewal: Five years

Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside, an elementary school in southeast Denver
Year opened: 2012
School rating: Green
Renewal: Five years

DSST: College View High School, a high school in southwest Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Green
Renewal: Three years, with a possible two-year extension

KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy, a high school in far northeast Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Blue
Renewal: Three years, with a possible two-year extension

KIPP Northeast Elementary School, an elementary school in far northeast Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible three-year extension

Rocky Mountain Prep Southwest, an elementary school in southwest Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible three-year extension

Wyatt Academy, an elementary school in northeast Denver
Year opened: 2003
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible two-year extension

KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School, a middle school in far northeast Denver
Year opened: 2011
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible two-year extension

Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, an elementary school in central Denver
Year opened: 2013
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible two-year extension

Denver Justice High School, an alternative high school for at-risk students in central Denver
Year opened: 2009
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible one-year extension

REACH Charter School, an elementary school in central Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Yellow
Renewal: Two years, with a possible one-year extension

Monarch Montessori, an elementary school in far northeast Denver
Year opened: 2012
School rating: Orange
Renewal: One year, with a possible two-year extension

STRIVE Prep SMART, a high school in southwest Denver
Year opened: 2012
School rating: Orange
Renewal: One year, with a possible two-year extension

Academy of Urban Learning, an alternative high school for at-risk students in northwest Denver
Year opened: 2005
School rating: Red
Renewal: One year, with a possible one-year extension

Rise Up Community School, an alternative high school for at-risk students in northeast Denver
Year opened: 2015
School rating: Red
Renewal: One year

moving forward

Frequent school changes are hurting students. Here’s how Detroit’s educators want to fix the problem.

PHOTO: Koby Levin
Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, second from left, says a tweak to school funding policy in Michigan would alleviate some of the effects of high student mobility. Looking on from left are moderator Stephen Henderson of WDET, Darienne Driver, CEO of United Way of Southeastern Michigan, and Maria Montoya, who works in the charter school office of Grand Valley State University.

As Detroit education leaders gathered Thursday night to find solutions to the problem of students frequently changing schools, it was clear that the stakes for Detroit’s students could not be higher.

When Alisanda Woods, the principal of Detroit’s Bethune Elementary-Middle School took the stage at the Detroit Public Library, she noted that six new students had enrolled in her school the day before, more than two months after the first day of school.

Katherine Andrews, a panelist who teaches in the University Prep charter school district, said the relentless arrival and departure of students haunts her classroom on a regular basis. “It’s almost like the class is going through a mourning period, like they’re going through grief,” she said. “They’re looking at it like there’s a plate missing from the dinner table. ‘Where’s Shawn? Why is Shawn not here? Why didn’t he get a chance to say goodbye?’”

Thursday’s forum came in the wake of a series of reports by Chalkbeat and Bridge Magazine called Moving Costs that examined the way students changing schools disrupts classrooms.

The discussion, which will be rebroadcast in coming days on Detroit Public Television and as an episode of Detroit Today on WDET, focused on solutions to the problem including the creation of a citywide student data systems that could keep track of where students are enrolled and where they’re moving.

Other ideas includes changes to student discipline policies so that schools can’t push students out for misbehavior.

The challenge of enrollment instability is made complicated by the fact that Detroit’s education landscape is evenly divided between schools run by the Detroit Public Schools Community District and those run by dozens of charter school boards and management companies.

Developing systems to prevent students from hopping around would depend on competitive schools working together. Such cooperation has been difficult to come by in the past. But there are signs that the antagonism has waned in recent months as the city’s district and charter schools have begun collaborating on a a new bus loop that stops at both traditional and charter schools, and on a new school rating system that will soon start assigning letter grades to all Detroit schools.

Here are some of the solutions discussed on Thursday night.

PHOTO: Koby Levin
Dawn Wilson-Clark, a parent and organizer with 482Forward, and Katherine Andrews, a teacher with the University Prep charter school district, spoke about the impacts of students changing schools.

Fix the count day problem

When students switch schools, they need extra support. But the financial uncertainty created by school-hopping makes it harder for schools to meet the challenge, said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

As it stands, most of Michigan’s education funds are distributed based on the number of students enrolled in a school on a single day in October.

That means that schools are left in the lurch if they have more students in April than October — and that some schools might try to push out students who are more challenging to educate in late October once they’ve gotten financial credit for that child. To solve the problem, Vitti said fall and spring enrollment should be evenly weighted, a change that would have to be passed by the state legislature.

Jennifer Swanson, a first grade teacher at a Detroit charter school, said she’s seen firsthand the turmoil that can result when a school’s enrollment grows during the year. After attending the forum, she said Vitti’s proposal is a good one.

“Students do move earlier on in the year, and it’s really problematic if you get new students after November,” she said.

Ben Pogodzinski, a Wayne State University professor who has studied the issue and participated in Thursday’s forum said another idea would be to base school funding on average enrollment over three years. That would make funding less dependent on fluctuations that could result in a school getting more or less money that it needs.

A central student data system

When students change schools, teachers are currently forced to sometimes wait weeks for student records to arrive from a student’s previous school

At the same time, schools that see students leave are often left wondering where they’ve gone, unsure whether to mark them absent or call the police.

Maria Montoya, who worked for a central enrollment system in New Orleans before working on a failed effort to bring one to Detroit, said Detroit’s fragmented system for tracking students is unacceptable.

“You continue to hear, well, it’s always been that way,” said Montoya, who now works in the charter school office at Grand Valley State University. “But that doesn’t make it right. A child should not disappear with nobody accountable for them, whether it is a traditional school or a charter.”

Toxic politics killed an earlier effort to create such a system, which would require cooperation between the city’s charter school and the district. Many large cities already have such systems, including Denver; New Orleans; Washington D.C.; Newark; Camden, New Jersey; and Indianapolis.

Michael Chrzan, a science teacher at a charter high school who attended the event, said the debate over charter schools in Detroit has stymied solutions to problems shared by all the city’s schools.

He said that for the first two months of the school year, his attendance list included a student who never showed up for class. Neither he nor his school knew if the student was attending class anywhere. This week, the student’s name finally disappeared.

“He just got dropped from my roster,” Chrzan said. “It’s frustrating.”

A citywide pushback on Detroit’s culture of school hopping

Survey data collected as part of Moving Costs series showed that families moving to new homes wasn’t the leading force driving school changes. In a majority of  cases, parents said they were simply looking for a better school.

“It’s different from our generation,” Chastity Pratt-Dawsey, a reporter for Bridge Magazine who grew up in Detroit. “When we didn’t like the school, momma went to the school and said ‘change it’, not ‘I’m going to move.’”

Montoya said parents often don’t push back when schools push them out, typically because they don’t know that schools that receive public money — both charter and traditional — are obligated by law to educate their children, even if they have special needs or behavioral challenges.

No one believes the culture will shift overnight, but Montoya says every interaction between educators and parents is a chance to make progress, to make sure that Detroiters understand their rights as well as the negative impacts of changing schools.

“We need to, as leaders, make sure that we’re giving parents that information,” she said.

A consistent discipline policy

Problems with behavior are a big reason students change schools.

“Honestly they’ve been kicked out (of their old school) most of the time,” said Woods, principal at Bethune, of the students who arrive at her school mid-year. “There are discipline problems, and parents are hopeful that if they take them here they’ll blend in better.”

Vitti said the district is working to design a set of discipline guidelines to push schools to work with students and try to meet their needs.

But he added that a city-wide set of discipline standards — like one being used in New York City —  would ensure that troubled students receive extra attention instead of being shunted from school to school.

Better supports for poor families

While there are plenty of school-based policies that could help contain the damage caused by school changes, the panelists made clear that the problem has roots in the poverty and housing instability that continue to plague Detroit

Woods said that some of the students who arrived at her school this week were homeless. One child had not attended school at all the previous year, Woods said, eliciting an audible gasp from the crowd.

That problem will have to be addressed by the city’s residents, its politicians, and its business community, Vitti said.

“Are we serious about developing stadiums, and downtown and midtown neighborhoods, or are we serious about creating homes and neighborhoods?”