(This is trying to look at something that is an obstacle, and creating an opportunity. I would love your feedback and any examples of classrooms doing this already.)
I know this might be an unpopular opinion, but I struggle when I see teachers or schools seeking funds for their classrooms through sites like “GoFundMe”.
First of all, it is something that bothers me because we all know that education can be better funded as it is an investment both on the future and right now. Yet, are schools thinking about how they allocate funds in a way that is looking to the future, or tailoring to the past? This is why terms like “stewardship of resources” are coming in lots of district and school priority lists to ensure that we are allocating funds to ensure students are giving every opportunity to succeed.
That being said, no matter how well funded a school is, and how well those resources are managed, there are still things that we could use for our classrooms. Is a site like “GoFundMe”, asking for donations, always the best choice? Discussing this with some educators today, they had a “matching” program with a company, that matched every dollar they raised, and yes, I would take that. But are there other ways that we can thinking of raising funds for our schools than simply asking for donations?
In a conversation I was having with a group today, I threw out the idea of “creating something of value”. Sites like etsy.com, are an opportunity to sell things have an access to a large market, but what makes something sell? How much money would you sell a product for that you created on that site? How would you get this in front of people that might be interested?
These are all good questions….ones that students should be studying and researching, and learning about in school. They also have to tie into your curriculum somewhere…can you find the places and make a connection?
Yong Zhao talked about this need for entrepreneurship in his book, “World Class Learners”:
Youth unemployment has become an urgent challenge facing the global society. In 2011, nearly 75 million youth aged 15 to 24 were unemployed worldwide. The majority of the world’s youth (87%) living in developing countries “are often underemployed and working in the informal economy under poor conditions,” according to the 2012 The World Youth Report of the United Nations.
We need to have our students not only think differently about the world we live in, but partake in that same world. I know there are a lot of logistics that would have to be worked out through this process (can we sell things and take profits in our schools, board policies, where would money go, transparent policies, etc., which are all good things for learners to research). Yet working with our students to help find and develop innovative solutions to create funding for things that we want in classrooms or schools, might be a process that not only helps to fund the change we are looking for in our learning environments, but will give students
relevant real skills that are needed now and in the future.