Yesterday in the Washington Times Tom Nida and Linda Moore had an article which spoke to the partnership between the Ritz Carlton Hotels and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School. The school's 6th grade students visit the hotels and learn about the various jobs in the hospitality industry. The hotel's staff also teaches the pupils classes in etiquette and food safety. They also come to the school to be judges in their science fair.
Of course, the notion of businesses partnering with educational institutions is nothing new. However, it surprises me that companies do not make a larger investment in our schools. Years ago, when I first started my involvement in education, I signed up the Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. I remember many early mornings driving founder Irasema Salcido to meetings in which we would have a few minutes to talk about the mission of the school.
I thought it was a natural fit that companies that would be depending on quality workers would jump at the opportunity to provide financial and other support to our school. However, breakfast after breakfast we were met with silence. Businesses were much more interested in who could provide them with lower cost office supplies.
Perhaps our high performing charters should band together and approach corporations as a group? Or perhaps this is just too much coordination to expect of our fiercely independent movement?