If you have been paying attention to the news over the past month, you may have read about teacher’s strikes that started in West Virginia and spread to Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Teachers have protested the decline of state spending on educations since the recession. While the economy has since recovered, proper funding for education has not. For instance, in Arizona, spending per student has sharply declined by 36.6%. In Oklahoma, it is down 15.6%. In Kentucky, it has dropped by 5.9%.
Additionally, the average teachers salaries, when adjusted for inflation, has dropped over time. The average public school teacher salary for 2016-2017 was $59,850, which is about 1.6% lower than the $41,407 average in the 1999-2000 school year.
When public school teachers went on strike in February, they protested for a 1% and 2% salary increases over the next few years. State legislators finally approved a 5% increase after nine days of the strike.
In Oklahoma, 20% of school districts have four-day school weeks because of budget restrictions and many class sizes are larger than the 20 student legal limit. Teachers have not received a raise since 2008.
And still, Oklahoma governor, Mary Fallin told CBS News, “teachers want more, but it’s kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better car.”
Many photos of dilapidated schools, classrooms, and supplies from Oklahoma public schools have circulated online—sparking outrage from the general public.
Although some of these protests are proving to be successful, many people in the general public are still looking for ways to help out educators. Calling your legislator is one effective way of doing this. However, another way of making a difference is by supporting non-profit organizations that provide essential support for teachers in the United States.
We have compiled a list of 5 effective charities that make a difference in our national education system. If our children are our future, supporting education is a wise and important investment.
5 Charities That Improve Our Education System
1. Common Cause Education Fund
Common Cause Education Fund or CCEF was founded in 2000 as a public education and research affiliate of the nonpartisan lobbying organization Common Cause.
CCEF and Common cause work together to, “strengthen public participation and faith in our institutions of self-government; ensure that government and the political process serve the general interest, rather than special interests; curb the excessive influence of money on government decisions and elections; promote fair and honest elections and high ethical standards for government officials; and protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.”
In the words of the St. Petersburg Times: “When the little guy wins, it’s likely that Common Cause had something to do with the victory. It’s good to know that the people can make a difference.”
This non-profit organization is necessary in order to rid out political corruption when it comes to education. They are a highly effective charity with a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, scoring 96.66 out of 100.
On the website www.commoncause.org, there is an Action Toolkit you can use to take initiative. Or you can donate to this very important cause.
2. Sponsors for Educational Opportunities
Sponsors for Educational Opportunities or SEO is also a very effective education-based non-profit organization with a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, scoring 100 out of 100!
SEO was founded in 1963 with the following mission: “to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities.”
Now, SEO has three separate programs: SEO Scholars, SEO Career, and SEO Alternative Investments.
SEO Scholars is a, “free eight-year academic program that gets underserved public high school students to and through college—with a 90% college graduation rate.”
The results of SEO Scholars is astounding. The average “A” Student Black & Hispanic SEO Scholar received a 1685 SAT score while the average Black & Hispanic “A” Student Nationally received a 1479 SAT Score. This same trend is true for the GPA scores of SEO Scholars.
SEO Career is, “the nation’s premier pre-professional development and internship program providing Black, Hispanic, and Native American undergrads with coaching, training, and access to internships across multiple lines of business. SEO Career connects talented undergraduates with internship opportunities at more than 40 partner companies.”
And SEO Law Fellowship is, “the only program of its kind to offer talented incoming law school students of color the opportunity to work at a top law firm during the summer before law school.”
SEO aims to close the achievement gap between low-income urban students and their high-income suburban peers. They are highly effective at tackling an incredibly important cause.
To learn more, visit www.seo-usa.org.
3. Education Pioneers
Education Pioneer was founded in 2003. This non-profit has a unique approach to supporting education. They, “work on issues related to data analysis, operations, finance, human resources, and more. [We] solve problems from outside the classroom so students and teachers can thrive inside the classroom.”
Education Pioneers has established three strategic goals. First: Deploy the right leadership and management talent to the right places to drive transformative change. Second: Spur educational improvement and innovation far and wide. Third: Build a great organization that will drive a lasting impact.
To learn more about Education Pioneers, visit www.educationpioneers.org.
4. National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education or NCSE is a non-profit organization committed to defending the integrity of science education against ideological interference.
They work with “teachers, parents, scientists, journalists, and concerned citizens at the local, state, and national levels to ensure that topics like evolution and climate change are taught accurately, honestly, and confidently.”
On their website, they provide a list of ways to take action from starting a Science Booster Club to starting a Training Seminar to push back against topics like climate change denial.
To learn more or donate, visit www.ncse.com.
5. Partnership for After School Education
Partnership for After School Education or PASE aims to “improve the quality of afterschool programs for children and teens living in poverty. PASE recognizes the crucial role afterschool programs play in fostering young people’s intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual growth. PASE believes that all kids deserve a safe, nurturing space during out-of-school time where they have opportunities to explore their passions while connecting with and learning from adults.”
To learn more about PASE, visit www.pasesetter.org.