National Education Fund Offers Millions to Disadvantaged Schools
by Logan Smith
We’ve all read about school funding issues; some states favor the wealthier districts, while others offer achievement-based funding. More often than not, the schools that need the most help are often overlooked. Luckily, the National Education Fund (NEF), the national nonprofit leader in bridging academic, digital and job divides through digital education, has stepped in with a solution.
Just last week, NEF announced a nationwide initiative to offer grants up to $2 million to 300 school districts, focusing on schools with lower-income students. The districts chosen for grant funding will need at least 35% of their students on the free or reduced lunch plans. The NEF grant program will enable school districts to set up a state-of-the art Learning Management System that will help a student to go up a grade level in math or reading in just 25 learning hours.
Dr. Appu Kuttan, Chairman and Founder of the NEF had a lot to say about the grants. “School districts across the Nation are faced with serious budget cuts at a time US rankings in math, reading and science are still going down. Twenty four countries are ranked ahead of us in math.” He continued, “Our $300 million grant program would enable school districts to receive $3 billion in Federal funds to improve energy efficiency and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and reading skills.”
Many other leaders and program directors have shown their support for the NEF and the millions of dollars in grant money. Former President Bill Clinton was very impressed with Dr. Kuttan’s efforts, simply stating “I salute you for your ongoing commitment for creating a better and stronger America.”
The National Education Fund was founded in 1989 and has set up three projects to make sure quality education is available to everyone. Their projects include:
CyberLearning Academy – Which provides 21st century skills, including 5,500 web-based learning courses to disadvantaged students across the U.S. Their goal is to set up these Learning Management Systems (LMSs) in the most disadvantaged schools in the U.S. by the year 2020. The $300 million in grants is a huge step towards achieving this goal.
NEF University – Provides workforce training solutions. This project’s goal is to train one million U.S. jobseekers in 2010, which will help to close the skills gap.
NEF International – The National Education Fund also provides academic and workforce training to other countries, again, focusing on disadvantage students and adults. Some of these countries include India, Egypt and Jordan.