Obama asks CEOs to pump money into public schools

President Obama is asking the CEOs of Time Warner, AT&T, and other major companies in a meeting today to funnel money into the nation's public schools, which are facing steep budget cuts on the state level this year.

The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Banchero writes that both Bank of America and Microsoft will announce new investments in K-12 education after the meeting: $50 million for programs to prepare low-income students for college and a $15 million investment in video-game technology for the classroom, respectively.

According to data from the National Association of State Budget Officers, 18 states cut spending for K-12 instruction in fiscal year 2011 by $1.8 billion. Proposed cuts for the next fiscal year are much steeper: They total $2.5 billion for K-12 schools.

But some education advocates and teachers' unions have argued that corporate money comes with strings attached. The three biggest foundations that donate to education initiatives--the Broad, Walton, and Gates Foundations--all strongly support charter schools and back the evaluation of teachers based on how their students perform on standardized tests. The millions these foundations pour into education reform efforts each year have changed the shape of the national debate on education, as education writer Dana Goldstein explains on her blog.

According to the Journal, corporate donations to education initiatives totalled about $514 million in 2009.

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