School Dog: Three Great Education Orgs and a Big Question

Education is about access. It’s a public good, so it doesn’t lend itself to corporate thinking. But corporate thinkers have corporate money and they corporate-money-think all over everything. This is where we Drooly Dogs come in: To Inform and Inspire.

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The Internet has un-middle-manned a lot of things. Not the least of which is access to educational material. Let’s make sure it happens by funding the hell out of it. We’re going to need to reach as many kids as possible.

Here are three great organizations going after important parts of the puzzle, and then a Big Question.

  1. Let’s start with: Khan Academy. It’s ever-growing. It’s even got SAT-prep now. Check out Sal Khan’s TED Talk on reinventing education. Also here he talks about the difference between mastery and test scores.
  2. World Savvy. I’ve worked with these folks so I’m into them. They had me help immigrant high school students tell their stories through comics. Their global perspective is critical.
  3. 826 Valencia/826 National. Another that I worked with for five years so I’m into them too. They trained us in teaching English-learners by having us analyze ridiculous technical jargon to help us understand what those students are up against. I’ve illustrated wild books there like “Tina Tackles the Tarantula” and “The Scary Garlic at the Bottom of the Stairs.”

The Big Question is Access to Internet and Broadband. Areas with less resources experience much slower connections and inferior support. The digital plumbing has to be there, but I don’t see a lot of highly-visible groups going after it. Mostly because, once again, corporate America is sitting its butt right in the middle in the form of the cable/internet companies and the arguments over net neutrality and regulation. SO: How can we get after this issue? Cell phone content? New forms of advocacy? The growing market for educational apps? Improving resources for public libraries? Probably a combination, no?

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I did find The National Digital Inclusion Alliance, but I have to say I was pretty disappointed overall in how few groups there are. They grapple mostly with policy as opposed to novel approaches.

I also found the REACH Center, and plan to check them out. They are all about diversity.

This plumbing issue stands firmly in the way, Dogs. We’ve got work to do to transcend barriers and get the good stuff to everyone. Come share your thoughts in the Facebook Group.