Anthony Cody read the post about the collaboration between the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Center for American Progress, which are sponsoring a low-budget “moon shot for kids.”

Not many (or any) of those who work at TBF or CAP have been career teachers.

Anthony Cody offers his advice:

I worked in the public schools of Oakland, CA, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school teacher of science and Math. I have witnessed firsthand the destructive effect of previous philanthropic efforts in education. There must be a radical change in approach.

The key to successful investment in this arena is leveraging a relatively small amount of money to create a ripple effect that delivers further deeper investment — and not just of funds, but of public trust and engagement.

A coalition of philanthropists would heed the convincing evidence from Anand Giridharadas that their prior efforts have had the effect of suppressing investment and engagement in common public schools. They would reverse course, and instead of seeking to undermine public schools under control of democratically elected school boards, create a campaign to support such schools. They would create a process to empower a democratically elected leadership team composed of students, teachers and parents.

The project would work to:

1. Support efforts to reduce income inequality, since there is a direct connection between educational and economic well-being.

2. Overturn Citizen’s United, since this absurd notion has allowed for legalized bribery.

3. Recognize the destructive effects of high stakes tests and work to end them at all levels.

4. Reaffirm the value of racial and economic desegregation, so all children have equal access to high quality schools, and the chance to learn together.

5. Significantly reduce class sizes across the nation, setting a cap of 20 on grades k to 3, and 25 on grades 4 to 12. This would allow for genuine personalization of education.

6. Make “virtual schools” ineligible for public funds.

7. Minimize screen time and eliminate farcical descriptions of this as “personalization.”

8. Create democratically elected teams of teachers, parents and students to participate in decision-making at every level of the education system.

This is a significant departure from previous philanthropic efforts in education. But given that prior work has been so devastating to our schools, it is time for such a correction.