Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grants For Schools: Lots of Homework for Educators

Educational grants are not impossible to obtain. In fact, if you put in the effort, I can virtually assure that your school can get a grant. But free money is not easy to get, there is a long and almost tedious process.

The good news is that getting an educational grant is very possible for you. The bad news is that the process is not easy. However, because it is not easy to get a grant, many people do not bother to try. It will take patience, attention to detail, and creativity to be on the winning side.

Incidentally, the definition of an educational grant is anytime a person or organization is willing to give your school or educational program something you need to do something you want for the benefit of your students. Grants are not always money. Sometimes they come in the form of what is called "in kind gifts"--like computers or science lab equipment.

Grantors want educational results, they want their educational grants to create marked changes in the students and their learning. Focusing in on your real needs, i.e. things required to make learning possible is the most difficult step in the grant process. The key to getting help is to ask grantors who want the same results as you do. You need to look to the core of your problems. What are your classroom needs? You must be able to answer this question in one sentence before you move on.

Who Should I Ask?

There are several types of grantors that give educational grants. And some are harder to get to than others. Therefore, persistence is key. Most people do not want to go through the work that is required to get a grant. But if you don't try, you'll never get a grant.

Ask the principal:

If you have passion and motivation to get something you need, you have a good chance of convincing the principal that it is worth the spending. If you invest some of your own money, you have a better chance because it shows commitment to your desire for a teacher grant.

Approach the school district:

You may immediately think that you can not do this...why? Isn't what you want to do desirable? Check with the principal and find out how to approach the superintendent or school board, just follow the appropriate school protocol and ask.

Ask the local government:

Local politicians know where the money is, and it is surprising to find out how much is around. A politician who sees an opportunity for publicity through teacher grants will often be helpful in your search for funding.

Ask the supplies State government:

For example, the New York State Legislature gives out money in state legislative grants. Members are allocated funds for their districts. So tell the state government about your ideas for an educational grant.

Ask the Federal Government:

Every day the government lists programs, including teacher grants, in the Federal Register.

Ask a Foundation:

Thousands of foundations want to give money, and they have billions of dollars to work with. Find those foundations that share your goals. Use the Foundation Center as a source, or newsletters that offer regular suggestions on who is offering educational grants.

Ask a Local Company:

Local businesses are another good source. Banks are particularly good places to start.

Some tips:

a) Always follow school and district rules.

b) There is specific grant jargon you must interpret correctly. Read the grant description several times. Call to clarify any points that you are not sure of. Mention what you have in mind and ask if he or she thinks it would be "competitive." The word competitive is part of the grant jargon that is very important.

c) Do some search to see if your problem is already being approached somewhere else. Find out how others have reached their goals for education grants of similar concerns.

d) Think of the grant application as a test. You will be asked to repeat information. No matter what, leave out nothing that is asked for.

e) Submit your proposal on time. Follow the instructions. If you do not do this, your
education grant application might not even be read, let alone considered by the grantors.

f) Complete the proposal and put it aside for a few days. Then read it over again and make changes if you need to. Ask others to proofread for you--just in case.

g) Be sure to check prices and anticipate that prices will increase. Be careful what you ask for and make sure the amount of your education grant will suit your needs.

h) Remember, if you do not ask, you definitely will not get your education grants.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Education - No Child Left Behind

In the ever growing war between educators, No Child Left Behind is probably one of the most hotly contested topics in the world of education today. Nobody can seem to agree on it and it's no wonder, because it's a rather radical concept that years ago would have been unthinkable. In this article we're going to present both sides of the argument but in no way will we try to determine who is right and who is wrong. We'll leave that decision to history itself.

No Child Left Behind, the act, was instituted in 2001. One of the biggest problems with No Child Left Behind is that most people don't really understand what it means. Parents are under the impression that it means their child is not allowed to be kept back in school if his grades are poor. This is not true at all. No Child Left Behind was instituted so that the poorer districts could give their children the same level and quality of education as children in the richer districts. To achieve this end, the poorer districts are allocated a certain amount of additional funds. These funds increase a certain percentage each year. Since the act was instituted, the average dollar amount allocated has risen from $13,500,000,000 in 2002 to an estimated $25,000,000,000 in 2007.

But there is a catch to this. And this is where the arguments come in. In order to qualify for this funding, schools have to have a certain percentage of students pass the standardized tests that are given each year. Currently, those tests are only given to high school children. Future plans for No Child Left Behind are to have these tests given to every child in every grade.

The arguments for this procedure is that children will all be taught the same material and therefore will all have the same education. If a child doesn't pass the standardized test by his last year of high school then he must either go to summer school and pass it or repeat his last year of high school. Those for this say it will make sure that every child who does graduate from school is prepared for the outside world. By making the money given dependent on these test scores, this forces the schools themselves to focus on what they consider the core contents. This makes sure that every kid is properly educated.

Those against No Child Left Behind argue that the money allocated to the school districts should not be dependent on how well the students do. Their argument is that children in poorer districts do poorly because they are poor and the money should be given to them regardless of test scores. They view this as a catch 22, which most teachers in the poorer districts seem to agree with.

As to where this money actually goes, that would take a book to explain. Suffice it to say that portions of this huge amount are divided up among many areas including Comprehensive School Reform, Advanced Placement, School Improvement, School Dropout Prevention and the list goes on and on. This is where another argument comes in. Most teachers feel this money is being wasted and should go to teachers salaries and text books, where the money is really needed.

If you'd like to do more research into No Child Left Behind, the entire act is posted on the government educational web site. Enjoy!