Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giving the Gift of Education

December 23, 2008- The oversized ornaments hung high from the ceilings. The loud music echoed from The Gap to Tiffany’s. Everything was just as big and bright as in year’s past at the mall. But where were all the shoppers? I’d like to think the shopping on the web had peaked, but on a recent trip to find the perfect holiday gift I knew it had more to do with the economy than with any promotion that Amazon, Overstock or eBay could have come up with.

No matter where you look, people are cutting back, including our friends in the education space. Education Week recently published an Associated Press story on the states bracing for the budget cuts to come, while also reporting on the 30,000 schools not measuring up to the No Child Left Behind standards. In a nutshell, schools are being asked to achieve more, and now they are learning they have to do it with less funding.

It might be that I’m watching too many holiday specials, but it feels that our schools are in need of a Christmas miracle. I’m sure many superintendents wish they had the good fortune of George Bailey. Unfortunately, for us it’s not about Mr. Potter taking the money. For our story, it is about state and district level budget cuts. So while some school leaders wait for Clarence to earn his wings, others are receiving the gift that colleges across the country are providing through sponsorship to high schools. One by one, colleges are at the doorstep of our network to offer their support to U.S. high schools. Far from a miracle, our career and college solutions take already proven technology to help students while saving our families, schools, districts and states money. Who knew sending electronic transcripts could save Bedford Falls the $8K Uncle Billy lost, in just one admission cycle?

Currently, over 2,000 high schools are benefiting from ConnectEDU’s no cost technology solutions to do more with less. Colleges throughout the nation are taking the lead and sponsoring the integration of Connect! into high schools in their regions. They understand the importance of providing students the resources, tools and information to make good decisions about college. They also now understand it shouldn’t be at their expense. These sponsorships are our college partners’ way of putting students first. After all, in the end it’s about providing a college education so our students can live a 'wonderful life'.

Happy Holidays.

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