Talk show host Oprah Winfrey donated $6 million in grant-funding to six charter educational centers in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas.
During a recent show dedicated to education reform, Oprah hosted a panel which included billionaire Bill Gates and Director of “Waiting for Superman”, Davis Guggenheim. The movie tracks five children who enter an educational lottery hoping to obtain entrance to high performing schools. The film brought focus to the full-blown crisis in public schools in the United States.
The Oprah show highlighted failing school systems and school boards that often accepted failure. Inner city school disparities are to blame for many of today’s youth failing according to the panel. Teachers in the classroom that no longer teach or even have the desire to teach, tenure policy’s that favors teachers rather than youth and a lack of funding were among other issues discussed by the panel.
In the discussion, panelists believe that Charter schools around the country make a tremendous difference in the lives of inner city children. However, many of these programs lack funding for even basic extracurricular activities like after school programs.
For this reason, Winfrey donated to charter educational programs around the country. The money distributed was from Oprah’s Angel Network organization. Winfrey presented mock checks symbolizing the organizations intent to donate while the show aired.
The show’s hometown of Chicago was not overlooked in the donations. Winfrey donated $1 million dollars to the Chicago-based LEARN program which serves four schools on the South and West sides of Chicago.
This was the last distribution of Angel Network’s funds. The organization stopped accepting donations in early spring. The agency is closing in anticipation of the show moving to cable television.