Just recently I was moderating the #KidsDeserveIt chat and the final question was about having one wish for education, and what it would be.
My answer was simple – adequate and consistent funding – forever.
To support —
I don’t know when that will happen, and it’s not really anything that we as educators can control.
But it’s still what I want and my wish for education.
Even just the other day I read this article on NPR about the ‘Looming Financial Meltdown For America’s Schools’ and it’s not reassuring from a funding standpoint at all.
We should be constantly advocating on behalf of our schools with government officials, that’s for sure.
What I don’t feel is super beneficial is constantly complaining about what’s wrong and what we don’t have.
Having a solution oriented mindset is positive – it’s pragmatic – and it gets you closer to a solution.
To be honest I’ve gone back and forth with even using the word ‘solution’ because to keep it real, it’s not really a solution.
But if we get our mindset to a place that helps us move forward, that is a solution and it’s being positive and pragmatic!
So here’s what we did to fix it, or at least approach the problem as best we could.
We prioritize in a major way.
I know everything is important. But if we prioritize everything that is important, then nothing will get prioritized because there won’t be time or money for what’s really important.
Making a short list of three to five things to focus on as a school or district is paramount. You can’t fund, train, develop, support, professional develop, and implement twenty to twenty-five programs – three to five is possible.
Once you and your team have made ‘the list’ it’s time to get started by looking at budgets.
Let me tell you from personal experience. Every Principal has some money in their school budgets, it all depends what they spend that money on. Look at those budgets as one big pot to support your list of three to five initiatives that you want to support.
If people are hanging on to old programs and ways of doing things, go back to that original list and have a conversation about them. If they don’t support the list, it’s not a funding priority.
Remember – my one wish for education is adequate and consistent funding for schools, forever. We don’t know when that’s going to happen, so we have to narrow our scope.
Once the budget has been refurbished to support the list and you’ve allocated what money you can from school budgets, it’s time to get very serious with Donors Choose and writing grants.
I firmly believe that Donors Choose should be a very important part of every school and district’s funding solution.
Start with their Match Offers page to see what current offers there are nationally and in your state.
Talk with your colleagues who have already written and gotten a grant funded.
Share your grant on social media.
Get it funded, and then write another and another and another.
School funding is an issue, there’s never enough money to go around and when state budgets get hit, schools seem to be the first ones cut.
Write grants – share them out – and get supplies and materials for your classroom.
My first post in the series is here and where I talk about the funding problems for classrooms. And my next post here was about the three biggest mistakes we made when writing Donors Choose grants!