In her role as the board chair of Lakeside School, Connie Ballmer announced that the Seattle institution is teaming up with nine other private schools to form the Global Online Academy, which will initially present distance learning opportunities for, well, rich kids.
In addition to Lakeside, which graduated Bill Gates and Paul Allen, other schools in the exclusive alliance include Sidwell Friends School, currently attended by President Obama’s daughters and the alma mater of ‘Waiting for Superman’ director Davis Guggenheim; Punahou School, which President Obama attended from 1971-1979; Cranbrook Schools, whose grads include Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and friend-of-BillG Michael Kinsley; and The Dalton School, the $35,300-a-year Manhattan school whose alums include Sean Lennon and Anderson Cooper.
“Independent schools have traditionally struggled with how to provide their education models and resources to a wider student population in order to serve a public purpose,” Connie Ballmer explains. “While the initial classes will be for students at member schools only there is potential to share them with a broader community and help narrow the disparity of educational opportunity.”
Trickle-down education, you might say.
Last year, spouse-of-Connie Steve Ballmer spent $425,000 to help defeat a proposed Washington state income tax, which coincidentally also had the potential to help narrow the disparity of educational opportunity for WA public school students. Bill Gates Sr., the father of the Microsoft chairman, led the campaign in support of the tax.
In March, Connie Ballmer noted that Lakeside’s tuition is $8,446-a-year less than the per-student expenses incurred by the school, thanks to the magic of fundraising. Records show that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $34 million to Lakeside in 2008, and $40 million in 2005, primarily in support of the school’s capital campaigns.
Global Online Academy is currently conducting a national search for its director. The first classes are slated for September.
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