When it comes to philanthropic giving to public schools, the hype is always big. Like when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oprah Winfrey’s show that he was giving $100 million to Newark, New Jersey, schools.

But the results don’t always live up to the hype. 

It’s hard for rural schools in Massachusetts to get kids to and from class every day — especially now, in muddy season, when the snow has melted and the rain begins.

“This is mud and ruts and a mess,” says bus driver Joanne Deady as she points to the narrow, unpaved road on her route from Colrain Central School in northwestern Massachusetts.

It’s just after the school day and she’s about halfway through her route. Standing between her and the next drop-off is a big patch of what she calls “greasy mud” — the kind her bus can easily get stuck in if it’s deep enough.

The library at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Creative Commons

Students returning for the fall semester at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, are picking classes. With a lot of uncertainty at the school, the process is different than usual.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio and his wife Barbara are making a $100 million donation to Connecticut Public Schools. It’s part of what the state hopes will be a $300 million public private partnership. 

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

It's a busy week for the Massachusetts legislature's education committee as it hears the financial ramifications of declining district enrollments and school choice — and what to do about it.