Board Postpones Announcing Winners of New-Schools Grants
The New American Schools Development Corporation has postponed selecting the winners of its design competition to reinvent American schools until July 7.
The private, nonprofit corporation--which was formed by business leaders in 1991 at the request of President Bush to underwrite a new generation of "break the mold'' schools--was scheduled to make its selections by the end of last month.
But board members decided to postpone their decision to give themselves more time to review the 686 proposals that were submitted from around the country.
"It has been difficult to choose among the proposals because so many designs are filled with inspiring ideas,'' said Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the corporation. "So now the board is proceeding with an extensive review to make the final selections.''
The corporation also announced last week that it has selected Ann D. McLaughlin, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, as its new president and chief executive officer, effective July 1.
The board had been searching for a successor to W. Frank Blount since he publicly announced his decision to resign last fall.
'Plenty of Money'
The corporation's design competition has produced a fever-pitch of anticipation and activity in the education community. Panels of readers met this spring to review the nearly 700 submissions that the request for proposals has generated. (See Education Week, March 11, 1992.)
But the corporation has been plagued by fundraising problems since its outset. Although it has pledged to raise $200 million by this December, so far its efforts have stalled at just under $45 million.
Paige Cassidy, a spokesman for the organization, said "finances are not a part'' of the decision to postpone the award of phase 1 grants.
"We have plenty of money to fund the first phase as we intended,'' she stated, "but these proposals are expensive and talk about changing structures, and I think that's a pretty overwhelming charge.''
Ms. Cassidy declined to comment on how many proposals are seriously being considered for funding. NASDC has estimated that up to 30 design teams would be selected to flesh out their ideas in this first round of contracts.
Following phase 1, a smaller number of design teams will be chosen for two-year contracts to test their ideas in school settings. In the final phase, design-team members will assist communities who want to adapt the designs to their own schools.
Ms. Cassidy said the corporation "will not use specific proposals to go raise money'' at this point. "Once we have an approved package on July 7, we'll be more than happy to present a package as a fundraising approach,'' she said.
'Wealth of Experience'
Mr. Kean, the former governor of New Jersey who is now president of Drew University, said Ms. McLaughlin "brings a wealth of experience'' to the corporation's work, including an understanding of the "critical role of education in better preparing our students and future workforce for the increasing demands of the global marketplace.''
As Secretary of Labor under President Reagan, Ms. McLaughlin directed an initiative to identify and address demographic changes that affect the future labor force.
She also established the Workforce Quality Commission, the first blue-ribbon commission to address workforce competitiveness in a global economy.
Ms. McLaughlin is currently a visiting fellow and member of the
board of trustees of The Urban Institute, a private, nonprofit research
group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on the nation's economic
and social problems.
Vol. 11, Issue 37, Page 5