One non-profit doing interesting work is Matchbook Learning. The reason they stick out to me is simple. Throughout my life, I have seen people and programmes reward students who perform the best, like merit-based scholarships. I’ve seen programmes for students who are not in the top15% but quite close. I’ve even seen programmes for B and C students. But I don’t know of any regional or national programmes designed to take care and help and fund the education of the students who are performing the worst. (Incidentally, I see the same problem within my company as we decide in which countries we want to do outreach.)
But what I love is that Matchbook Learning works with the bottom 5% of schools (turnaround schools) in the U.S. using government funding for turnaround schools. You should watch the TEDxUNC talk: The Future of Education. Matchbook Learning Founder and CEO Sajan George tells how he uses technology-infused, mastery-based, data-driven blended learning founded in excellent teachers to turn schools around. I love how he left his job turning around failing companies and, wanting to have a bigger impact, decided to work on turning around failing schools.
His talk reminds me a bit of what some schools and school districts are doing with Khan Academy. Khan Academy now has an entire state using them for middle school math support. A 4-member, schools-implementation team from Khan Academy led a 2-day Khan Academy workshop for Idaho educators in October 2012 funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, an Idaho-based foundation that focuses on the expansion of excellent and limitless education for all Idahoans. The Albertson Foundation initiated a request-for-proposals to all types of Idaho schools (private, traditional, charter, alternative, after-school) to receive funding to pilot Khan Academy in the 2013-2014 school year. The grant winners were announced the 28th of February 2013 and the pilots will start in this autumn. You can watch a video about how Khan Academy was a saving grace for the educational work of the Albertson Foundation and check out the reaction of teachers at an education conference with Sal Khan in Boise in May 2012.