Ask And You Shall Receive

In a stack of papers called Reform.

  • Jan
  • 21
  • 2006

My friend Rushton and I traveled up to San Francisco to visit a KIPP school called San Francisco Bay Academy. From reading this blog, you should note my unhappiness with the current system, yet unwillingness to believe that another prepackaged solution is the way to go or the prime thing to contribute to success. Since I am at a point where I want to see educational experimentation, though, I enjoyed myself at this open house and liked seeing a charter school that’s taking a different approach. Thank you to the folk over there who made us comfortable today.

I’ll leave all my other observations for a later posting and focus on one of the first things I noticed: they asked for money. I liked that.

Three anonymous donors provided for San Francisco Bay Academy today. One paid them $100 for each person who attended the open house and filled out a contact form. Another person tripled any donations people made today. And they announced that another donor gave $1 million for an endowment they are starting. That all adds up to a lot of money, not only today but for the future in the form of that endowment.

In order to educate a child, the state of California provides about $5,000 per student. San Francisco Bay Academy needs $8,000 per student. Clearly, there’s a $3,000 difference per student. In a school of 185, that’s an additional $555,000 needed. And they raise those funds through corporate sponsorships, grants, individual contributions, and I’m sure any other way they can.

We in education are all really good about crying, “Not enough money!” But what are we doing to raise those funds we think we need?

There are some limitations on how much money school districts can accept directly (thanks for the brief rundown on that one, Tabitha; I need more detail on how that works). I’m no good at accounting, but I’m sure there are ways for schools and districts to bring more money into the system. From where I sit, it seems that no one is investigating any of those ways. That part of someone’s job currently, a part that is being ignored for some other tasks that may or may not be as important as fundraising.

What does our superintendent do? Shouldn’t that be the superintendent’s job to find grants, go out and forge relationships with businesses, encourage contributions from the community? Maybe we should all ask for donations as part of back-to-school night.

If we need more money, let’s look into going out and asking for it. That should not be beneath any of us and we shouldn’t be ashamed of needing to ask for money.

Sure, I’ll Ask

Care to donate to my classroom? I will use the money to encourage more computer literacy in my English classes, allow for video projects where students are the center of attention, give students tools at their immediate disposal to achieve what they want, and prepare students to take the English Placement Test (at CSUs) and the formerly-known-as-Subject-A (at UCs) by viewing Web sites as an entire class and working on the writing process with sample essays the whole class can see. I’d also like to buy some classroom sets of novels I teach and maybe even look into buying some novel titles that our bookroom does not currently carry, though those are secondary priorities. Send me an email through my contact page and I’ll figure out how to make sure it’s all legal and deductible before we take any action. Your donation would go to benefit 170 students this year and possibly go on to affect hundreds of students in the future become better prepared to participate in a technology-savvy society that demands good thinking, reading, and writing skills. Thank you.

Comments are closed.