Ten Harlem middle schools will get new math and science programs this fall, thanks to a $17.9 million, five-year grant from the General Electric Foundation, announced just this afternoon by a sun-drenched Mayor Bloomberg, flanked by CEO of GE Jeffrey Immelt, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and Harlem's own Charlie Rangel, House Ways and Means Committee Chair and undisputed king of 125th Street.
The largest corporate grant ever awarded to city schools, the DOE money is the lion's share of a $29-million package that directs GE funds to Teachers College, Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Childrens' Zone, the Council for Opportunities in Education and College for Every Student, in that corporation's ongoing effort to develop math, science and engineering talent. Klein said that participating public schools have yet to be identified, although a Teacher's College press-release named PS 200 and PS/IS 180 as part of the program.
We don't yet know how the money will be spent or the programs administered, but Klein did mention that a portion of the grant might be used to "reconfigure" middle schools (translation: break them up and make them smaller). The mayor and the chancellor have reminded us often over the past week that middle schools remain their biggest challenge for reform, and they heralded this latest cash flow as a boost to their invigorated efforts. We're curious, however, why other parts of the city, with similarly acute needs for strong math and science education, aren't part of the powerhouse's largesse.