4 Ways to Combat Budget Cuts
It’s also a perfect time because many districts are already doing some awesome things to transform education, and it would be a shame to the students districts serve, to slow or stop their momentum. Roadblocks present challenges to overcome, but should not defeat us.
What can your district do?
1. Implement new curriculum strategies: Are you implementing new curriculum strategies that favor open education resources (OER) to save on the cost of procuring costly curriculum and also creating opportunities to introduce a wide variety of curriculum that allows students to have access to curriculum that matches their interests, progression and preferences?
Wake County Schools (NC), just selected free OER curriculum materials for their elementary and middles schools to begin using in the fall, which is freeing up funds to be used for PD for teachers. The district found a way to reduce costs and reallocate funds, all while improving teaching and learning.
2. Implement new learning models: Are you developing and implementing new learning models that allow for personalized learning that allows districts to do more with less and relies on better use of data to allow for differentiation?
The Enlarged City School District of Middletown serves more than 75 percent minorities and most students get free or reduced-price lunch. Using personalized learning and other innovative teaching and learning strategies, they have been able to increase their high school graduation rate to 85 percent up from 52 percent back in 2004.
3. Take advantage of the cloud: Are you taking advantage of cloud storage providers as opposed to maintaining costly data centers?
Though private organizations and even the CIA uses cloud technologies, K-12 districts have been slow to consider moving their infrastructure to the cloud, though, as CoSN points out, “Cloud computing is becoming the new school system IT imperative.”
4. Eradicate ineffective programs: Are you assessing your own district’s existing structures, initiatives and programs, and developing a strategy for changing/stopping ineffective programs and investing in effective ones?
In 2012, Eminence Independent Schools were failing with only 39 percent of students meeting statewide benchmarks. The superintendent decided to take action and completely redesign the district, which included partnering with a neighboring university, creating their own standards to enhance the state adopted Common Core standards and even installing Wi-Fi on school buses! In just two years, benchmarks improved to 100 percent.
Though Congress ultimately has the final say in any final Federal budget, and there is a chance some or all won’t come to fruition, districts shouldn’t wait—your students are counting on you to provide the educational opportunities they deserve.
So don’t get discouraged or get outraged. Get action-oriented and figure it out.
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