Career Education Center

448 West 56th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 262-0818 Fax: (212) 262-1421

CEC's Annenberg Grant



AMBASSADOR ANNENBERG's $500 million dollar gift to the nation's public schools, unveiled at the White House in December 1993 set out an unprecedented challenge to an American public increasingly vocal about the need for school improvement. His gift combined his idealistic belief in America's democratic obligation to educate all our children well with a practical plan that would galvanize communities, in their own best interests, to take the necessary tough political steps to do so.

The first grant, to support small schools in New York City, was announced in the fall of 1994. CEC's grant, to spur arts education as a lever for school improvement, was awarded in the spring of 1998.

Today, 18 locally designed Annenberg Challenge projects are underway, involving partnerships with almost 400 school districts in nearly 40 states. Nine of these focus on some of the nation's largest urban school districts. One spans all of rural America. Three focus on the arts. Five grants support innovative efforts in smaller urban districts.

The Challenge's broad impact is beginning to emerge in all of its projects, but especially its first six: New York City, Los Angeles. Chicago, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and a national consortium of rural sites.

Important lessons are also emerging from the particular design of the Challenge initiative - lessons that shed new light on what works and what doesn't in large-scale systemic school reform.

A Better Option for School Change

These findings offer a compelling alternative to two current theories of reforming public education that are attracting greater attention: privatization through vouchers and increased centralization of authority over a community's schools.

The Challenge rests on a different set of values. Local citizens and communities must join as partners in improving their schools. Its assets, and public-private coalitions can provide the tool to achieve progress.

The Challenge embraces pluralism and multiple strategies for bringing good schools to life and expanding their numbers. These diverse strategies emerged from local conversation and circumstances, local priorities and leadership. as the Annenberg Foundation invited each proiect to develop its own plan for reform. The New York Networks plan, for example, bears its uniquely "New York" stamp the result of its extensive experience with small alternative schools.

Career Education Center, as a recipient of an Annenberg Challenge Grant, has made a committment to integrate the arts into the entire curriculum to change the system of delivery of instruction and to enhance its educational program through collaborative efforts with "arts partners".

Members of the Barrow Group and representatives of the LaMaMa Theatre visit C.E.C. sites focusing on the goals of the program by providing teachers with tools to integrate arts into the curriculum as well as direct instruction for students.