The San Jose Education Foundation and the Santa Clara County Education Foundation have announced that they will merge to create the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which has already received pledges totaling $2.1 million.
The new entity, which will be headed by former San Jose Education Foundation president and CEO Muhammed Chaudhry, will continue the mission of SJEF but will now serve all thirty-four school districts in Santa Clara County. SVEF will work to drive debate around public education through its forum series and advisory groups of experts, connect local businesses to the region's schools, recruit quality teachers, prepare students for jobs in Silicon Valley, and advocate for arts education and special education services.
As part of the launch, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $1.7 million grant to the new foundation to create methods for classrooms to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition, Cisco has awarded $400,000 for open source software tools for schools that lack the resources to purchase costly mainstream software packages. The open source project will create a Web-enabled platform that allows teachers to collaborate via social networks to write lesson plans and share ideas on teaching best practices.
"If we hope to grow the future engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, we must drive educational achievement in the classroom," said Bruce Chizen, former Adobe Systems CEO and new vice-chair of the SVEF board. "SVEF will work with Silicon Valley businesses and the local education community to help realize that goal."