Monday, December 29, 2008

Change in 2009

December 29, 2008- The subject of Change is certainly a big one as we start a new calendar year… new challenges, new opportunities, and indeed a new list of New Year’s resolutions.

Here is an early draft of my list…

1) Spend an extra 15 minutes at the gym each day, not each week.
2) Check in with my folks more often via phone, not just Facebook.
3) Shut my iphone off after 9pm, and not just on vibrate.

They’re not the most difficult New Year’s resolutions, and I promise to pick at least one. That is what I told myself last year, when I resolved to change my ways. Well, 2009 is a whole new year.

This past weekend while reading about 2008 wrap ups and 2009 predictions, finding a new year’s resolution seemed daunting. It’s all about a recession and regression. How long it will last, who it will affect the most, and what needs to be done to survive it.

While the financial world stole the headlines this Fall, and as we move into the new year, those of us in the education space are drawn to front page stories about dwindling funds for schools – both k-12 and higher education. Now with the spotlight on how well we are preparing our students, it’s time to take a look at what we can do in 2009 to make improvements – and stick to our resolutions.

This week, the New York Times ran a piece on the inequities in funding for education. According to the article, “LOCAL control of schooling — which means local financing of schools — is an injustice, masked as a virtue, so deeply ingrained in the American mind that no politician in either party dare challenge it. But America’s obsession with local finance, which made perfect sense in the 19th century, is now sinking us morally and economically.” The article goes on to remind us just how the affluent communities receive the most resources and the less fortunate districts, the ones that need the extra support, get the short end of the stick. The Times, albeit ambitiously, suggests that in 2009 the system must change – despite the political diatribe that enforces the status quo.

The problem is not a secret, and is far from being breaking news – but what is significant is the declaration that change is the answer. We have to stop relying on the old way of doing business when it comes to our students’ well-being… and what better time to change than in the face of an unprecedented economic short-fall which will force us to do so whether willing or unwilling. The time is now!

Since 2002, ConnectEDU has been about change to improve access for all students to reach their college and career aspirations. We provide our education platforms through college sponsorships so no school, district or student has to pay – we give EVERY student the edge they need to plan their future at no cost to them. The Times uses Detroit as an example of funding inequities – where students from low-income urban neighborhoods receive thousands less in funding per student than students minutes away in posh communities. In our network, students from downtown Detroit are provided the same web solutions as their neighbors in the suburbs – all through sponsorship of 16+ Michigan institutions of higher education intent on changing the status quo and leveling the playing field when it comes to accessing college and career planning solutions and relationships. Schools in our network are taking the steps to make change on their own… and it’s working.

Each year, we resolve to bring our web solutions to more high schools – and each year we’ve expanded the network; 100 schools in 2006; 1,000 schools in 2007; 2,000 schools in 2008; 3,000+ in 2009.

So maybe I’ll skip a day at the gym, post a quick hello on my mom’s wall, or fall asleep with the cell phone on my pillow, but one resolution I know I can keep in 2009- ConnectEDU will continue to welcome more schools into our network in an effort to level the access playing field now!

After all, some things never change!

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