Kiva for Education

by mikekarnj on October 7, 2010

Just finished watching Waiting for Superman, which was the BEST DOCUMENTARY OF ALL TIME. Go watch it now and you’ll get a $15 giftcard to donorschoose, which allows you to donate money to any education project around our country. While watching the film, I thought of a really simple idea that can revolutionize education in our country.

Why not create a “Kiva for Education” in our own backyard? We need to create peer-to-peer education scholarships. Yes, there are similar things in developing countries (like Vittana), but OUR education is broken and failing here in the good ole USofA. I love the folks that want to change Africa but we need to start looking in our backyard. There’s a 80%+ dropout rate in New Orleans and Harlem. There are many organizations, schools, and teachers looking to turn that number around, and we should support them where we can.

It’ll work just like Kiva/Kickstarter. The parent signs up her kid when he/she enters Kindergarten, and a community supports him/her until she graduates HS/college. Let’s say the kid needs $1,000 per year to pay for school supplies, tutoring, tuition, etc. Ten people sign up and pledge $100 per year. Now the kid has the funds (money should never be a factor for education) and more importantly, ten people that want to see him succeed.

The support system around the student is the secret ingredient here. The money is just putting “skin in the game” for both sides. The student can keep all his supporters updated through the web. And he can start building a relationship that lasts for years with his support network. Another variation of this idea: people can start donating to his college fund. If he/she graduates from HS and gets into college, the funds that have been raised over the years can be released. As you can see, the possibilities for peer-to-peer education funding is endless.

Yes, I wrote an article about the ridiculousness of the college education system (that’s a different beast). But, every student should gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge that result from graduating from high school. Can someone build this for the greater good please?

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