This is not ancient mystic wisdom; it is modern American reality. When billionaire education deformers come around dangling large sums of cash, it is always best to turn the other way and run, run, run.
Those foolish enough to believe that they can collect these "gifts" in the form of grants and expect no quid pro quo are deluding themselves.
This year, the list of self-deluders includes the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, California; the Houston Independent School District; and two school districts in Florida: the Miami-Dade County school system and the Palm Beach County district.
These four share the poor luck of being finalists for the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education, a hifalutin' title that means "money with really big strings attached."
The news was announced last week. Boy, was I glad for our children's sake to see that none of South Carolina's school districts were among the finalists:
The winning district will be announced Oct. 23 in New York City, and will be awarded $550,000 in scholarships for seniors graduating in 2013. The other finalists will each be awarded $150,000 in scholarship money.
The Broad Prize winner is chosen in two steps: First, a 13-member review board chooses the finalists out of 75 districts in the country that qualify based on their demographics. This year, the finalists distinguished themselves by making better academic gains among Hispanic and African-American students than other urban districts, the award's sponsor, the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, said in a press release.