A recent article from the Detroit Free Press highlights the six big takeaways from a recent education summit held in Detroit. All six takeaways specifically address the funding shortages that plague the city’s public school system. However, this is not an issue solely found in Detroit. Lack of funding is an epidemic that has infected the entirety of the U.S. public school system.
If there are no funds to put towards programs like after-school tutoring, or even paying teachers enough to keep them from quitting, then how can we continue to close schools due to underperformance? Our students deserve more. We should be able to keep up with student demand, and to have a competitive edge. Underfunding permeates districts and takes away from students, teachers, and parents alike. Accounting for the absence of resources should not fall on any of these groups, and yet it routinely does.
A teacher from the greater Boston area recently provided us with a snapshot of the situation in her district. She talked about how she is constantly on the lookout for free or heavily discounted books because her entire classroom library – including the bookshelves – is self-financed. She recounted how every year they are told to submit requests for the supplies they need, but those materials rarely come in a timely fashion, and sometimes not at all. She also noted, regretfully, that sometimes parents end up having to help fund field trips when those trips are part of the curriculum, and the parents are already financially strained.
This is not what we want to think of when we think of our schools. Districts should be adequately funded to provide students, teachers and parents what they need. The Detroit Free Press article highlights how returning autonomy to schools increased performance and teacher retention rates. This indicates that when schools have the power to choose what is best for their students and teachers, they are more successful. Unfortunately, this freedom is unavailable to many schools because the priority is staying open, which involves a constant scramble to find money. If funding is not going to come from where it is supposed to, then it’s a natural next step for the schools to find it elsewhere.
At Education Funding Partners (EFP) we create a new source of sustainable revenue for schools by partnering school districts with nationally respected brands that have responsible, education-appropriate messaging targeted to parents and teachers. This new revenue stream from digital advertising means extra funds that can be put towards whatever districts want: STEM labs, after-school tutoring programs, new bookshelves. It’s time to start sourcing new revenue, and to get back to educating the next generation.
Contributed by: Mariel Soto Reyes