An article recently caught my attention regarding crowdfunding in education: Crowdfunded classrooms: Teachers increasingly solicit online.
The fact that teachers and education professionals are using crowdfunding isn't surprising, but the statistical trends do raise an eye:
- "Contributions to education campaigns have climbed on GoFundMe and DonorsChoose, collectively, from just more than $31.2 million in 2010 to nearly $140 million in 2015...Both sites are on pace to eclipse that in 2016."
- "GoFundMe has collected $58 million in just the last 12 months."
- "DonorsChoose saw more than 50,000 campaigns live on the site for the first time this back-to-school season."
This momentum is obviously sending the message that educators feel underinvested in, and they're right. My wife is an elementary teacher and her stories (and personal classroom spending coming from our checking account) emulate the very points in the article--very little is allocated beyond the bare necessities.
Over the years it has been wonderful to be part of audio-visual technology projects as classrooms implement tablets, voice lift, remote learning and a host of other emerging technological tools. However, I am afraid that these advancements are relegated to the minority of districts; the vast majority of classrooms and educators will still rely on tools like crowdfunding and third-party generosity to progress.
This topic is obviously near and dear to my heart, not only because I married an educator and have three children in grade school, but because us technology leaders do have the power to make a difference. One of our first actions when founding TechLogix was to launch a support program for schools and I was pleased to see other manufacturers jumping on board.
We technology innovators can make a difference to teachers like Shannon Raftery in Philadelphia. Every little bit helps.