Non-profit may move to Kagin basement

By Zac Farber

A non-profit that works to improve K-12 education primarily through the reduction of class sizes, The Center for School Change, may be moving its offices to the basement of Kagin in what President Brian Rosenberg called an “entirely business arrangement” that would have no initial curricular component.The administration is negotiating to give the center and its three full-time staff members office space in return for rent, which Rosenberg said would allow the college to hire an additional full-time or part-time grant writer. The space has been empty since the office reshuffling this summer that followed the completion of the Institute for Global Citizenship.

“I think focusing on what’s going on in our K-12 system is of some relevance to what we do here,” Rosenberg said at the Oct. 13 faculty meeting in Weyerhaeuser Hall. “So for Macalester to have some or increased visibility around that issue is not a bad thing.”

According to its Web site, the center is working to achieve systemic school change by following a three-step plan to remake school systems: 1) create smaller schools that emphasize family involvement and basic skills; 2) publicize small-scale achievements at laboratory schools; and 3) “increase the number of high performing charter public schools in predominantly low income communities” through changes to “local, state and federal institutions.”

The center has received grants from private charitable institutions, including a $3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and from the Department of Education.

The organization is currently based out of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The Center for School Change would retain ties with the University of Minnesota, but Rosenberg said that Macalester would assume the role of “financial overseer.