Funding


"A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can out-compete countries around the world. America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child." -President Barack Obama, July 18, 2011

As we witness the vast changes and innovative opportunities that will enhance public education, we can't diminish the fact that money is a key component. When it comes to educational funding, local and community business along with corporate support should be at the heart of financial efforts. Many businesses and local donors are willing to help support a worthy cause through reaching out to their youth in order to enhance their education and build-up the community. Parents are also a critical component of sustaining the vision via funding options. The key to soliciting support is increasing awareness. By having meetings, benefits, and community gatherings, the explanation of education's reconstruction will be voiced.

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Teachers, PTA/PTOs, and other organizations must write grants and seek other opportunities for funding as a collaborative unit. Again, awareness of these opportunities is critical because some people are unaware of the "free" money that is out there. It takes preparation and extensive writing in most cases but once the vision is mounted, the passion will emerge and provide strength for pushing forward. Once awareness is captured, healthy alliances amongst schools and outside sources of funding must be created. The state of Maryland is the home of the 21st Century Education Foundation which promotes collaborative efforts to match the needs of the public schools in Anne Arundel County. They are heavily supported by various sponsors of businesses, industry, and in their community. This foundation is a great example of how it takes everyone to support a worthy cause in public education.

Sources

The following funding sources are listed in Pat Reed's paper entitled Funding:

E-rate - This program provides Internet and telecommunications access to school and libraries at a discounted price which is based on the number of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch. Click here to view the discount matrix.

Federal Grants
Even though the funding has been reduced, the focus should remain on professional development and partnership projects because the awards focus on improving academic achievement, meeting state standards, parental involvement, and enhancing teaching and school improvement. A particular grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, named the 21st Century Community Learning Centers provides funds for the creation of after-school learning centers providing academic enrichment opportunities in the core academic subjects. The targeted students attend high-poverty and low-performing schools so the program aids in meeting state and local standards. The students and families are also offered literacy and other educational services. Visit the U.S. Department of Education's funding page for more information.

State & Local Funding
State and local funding of education technology is based on the vision and dedication of the decision makers involved so it is beneficial for parents, teachers, and education organizations to push their leaders in order to allow for technology funding. It is obvious that the initial expenditures are not working and schools need funds for software, teacher training, and continuous maintenance of the technologies. The state of Illinois has a webpage dedicated to showcasing funding opportunities. Information for other states can be retrieved my contacting the Board of Education.

Private Grants
Since government funding is steadily being cut, schools must reach out for alternative funding. The following list composed by Reed provide some sources of private funding.

Matching Gifts
It is important for parents and members of the community to be informed of corporations who provide matching funds from a charitable contribution of an employee. Visit Council for Advancement and Support of Education – Matching Gifts for more information.

Fundraising

This task can be fully administered via PTO/PTAs and/or other organizations and clubs in or around the school. The creative programs linked below provide portals for online shopping which is much more convenient and safer for families. Donations of specified percentages will be given to the school of choice.
The Manna Group
Cartridges for Kids
Innisbrook Wrapping Paper and Magazines
SchoolPop

For guidelines on grant writing, follow this link.

Reed also recommends the following sites:

The images below represent some resources via entrepreneurship, foundations, and national retailers.
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Parental Support

Regardless of the scale of collaborating, parental support is a critical addition for success inside and outside of the classroom. View the video below to see how a simple yet rewarding project was graciously supported by parents.

"Taking into consideration the fact that there is an enormous lack of funds to invest in school infrastructure in Kosovo, one very practical activity promoted by USAID's Basic Education Program is to involve parents in creating a better learning environment for their kids in a cost effective way. This activity also includes the provision of basic materials with which teachers, parents and students can organize a "make-over" of one classroom in the school to create a "21st Century Classroom". (YouTube description)

View the video below for an inspiring story of the Newton School's Foundation and how they ensured every classroom was up to par with 21st century technologies.


For more information and a detailed list of grant funding sources, please visit another chapter of the authors' previous wiki: Techstanding-Chapter 10: Financing the Vision: Informed Decision Making

Next: Partnerships & Collaboration