Happy Birthday The Generation Project!

Monday, 31 August 2009 23:00 by Jessica Rauch

 

 

Tonight marks the unofficial birthday of The Generation Project. If I were able totransport myself back in time exactly one year, I would be sitting precisely whereI am now, on my porch in Ann Arbor,MI. At that time, we were finalists in ideablob.com's Best New Business Idea contest and were collecting the final votes from friendly passersby. In the end, we didn’t need that final cushion, as we won the contest with a safe margin of over 1,000 votes (the largest in the history of the site). The website you see today was built because we won (which we owe to the incredible support we received from friends, family,and the Universityof Michigan community) and, because our entire model centers on the community we are buiilding through out website, we consider today The Generation Project's unnofficial birthday.

Since winning the $10,000 prize in the ideablob contest, The Generation Project has grown from what we thought was a pretty great idea to a fully formed, functioning nonprofit. As we are on the verge of implementing the first round of gifts in all ofour regions (see Amber/Duffy and Salam’s profiles to view gifts from our pilot program this spring), we have many milestones to share. So, please bear with us as we reminisce.

June 2008: Jessica (that's me!) leaves her job with Teach For America to take a really big risk (and a, err, non-existent pay check).

July 2008: The Generation Project incorporates in Illinois.

August 2008: Jessica and Eli enter their idea for The Generation Project in the ideablob.com Best New Business Idea contest and win by a record vote margin and with the most votes in contest history. The Generation Project files for nonprofit status.

September 2008Ideablob award ceremony at Dominick’s in Ann Arbor, MI draws over 100 supporters—who wouldn’t want a picture with a big check?

October 2008: Pop singer Marie’ Digby partners with The Generation Project and donates proceeds from T-shirt sales.

December 2008: The informational side of our new website goes live, thanks to 365 Interactive Design, one of our sponsors. The Generation Project also begins collaborating with Detroit schools to gear up for the pilot program.

January 2009: The Generation Project secures partnerships with Teach For America in its launch regions. The partnership advertises gifts to Teach For America teachers and the opportunity to donate to Teach For America alumni.  Ivan, one of Eli’s former students from the South Bronx, begins blogging for The Generation Project.   His hilarious and insightful insights on politics, sports, and current events draw hundreds of new visitors to the site.  

February 2009: The Generation Project receives confirmation from the IRS that we received 501(c)(3) status. The pilot program is launched in Detroit and New York City. Gifts implemented during the pilot program include an acoustic guitar for an aspiring songwriter in the Bronx, full sets of equipment to establish a baseball program at a Detroit school, an essay contest whereby students learned about and proposed peaceful solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and sets of donors favorite books. Also this month, students at the University of Michigan launch a student group to support The Generation Project and encourage other students groups to use The Generation Project for their philanthropic giving.

March 2009Rugby Ralph Lauren announces five finalists in its Match grant competition for budding social entrepreneurs. All five nonprofits participating are led by Teach For America alumni.

April 2009: The Generation Project wins the top prize of $25,000 through the pilot Match Rugby Fund grant competition.

June 2009: The Generation Project is selected as a pilot portfolio with the Fast Forward Fund, a New York City-based foundation that trains youth to invest in youth-led social change ventures.

July 2009: The community section of www.thegenerationproject.org goes live, allowing donors to design meaningful opportunities for high-need students.  The Generation Project’s launch tour, sponsored by Rugby Ralph Lauren, kicks off in Washington, DC on July 8th. Two stops follow in New York City on July 15th and in Chicago on July 22nd. These three stops raised approximately $20,000 for students in need in the form of nearly 200 gifts.

August 2009: Enterprise Rent A Car awards The Generation Project a grant for their commitment to Southeast Michigan. Jessica participates in the Detroit Quality Education Summit, reaffirming The Generation Project’s commitment to the children of Detroit.

September 2009: This month, The Generation Project will embark on its final two launch tour stops sponsored by Rugby Ralph Lauren in Boston on Wednesday, September 23 and in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 30.

Digg It!DZone It!StumbleUponTechnoratiRedditDel.icio.usNewsVineFurlBlinkList

Currently rated 2.3 by 35 people

  • Currently 2.285714/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:   ,
Categories:   News
Actions:   E-mail | del.icio.us | Share on Facebook | Permalink | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Weekly News Roundup: August 28

Friday, 28 August 2009 19:08 by Brendan Campbell

Editor's Note: This is our weekly news roundup of education-related events nationwide and in our launch regions, compiled by one of our amazing interns. 

National:
+ Los Angeles considering privatization of 1/3 of its public schools (New York Times)
+ Fewer students applying for college as parents weigh value of Liberal Arts degrees (Washington Post)
+ Children's TV helps, but can't teach reading alone (NPR)
+ Reading Rainbow reaches its final chapter (NPR)

D.C. Metro:
+ First day of school! (Washington Post)
+ 37,000 to start school year, well below budgeted number (
Washington Post)
+ Rhee's 200-page 'Framework' spells out teaching guidelines (
Washington Post)
+ Stimulus funds help with budget, but there's not enough to fund innovation (
Washington Post)
+ Minority participation and scores are up for some of the class of '09 (
Washington Post)
+ Charter school struggles to find students (
NPR)

New York:
+ Agreement to allow parents' group to pay for school aides (New York Times)
+ Academy for Principals helped raise English scores (New York Times)
+ SAT scores hit floor in dramatic plummet (New York Post), but APs are up (Gotham Schools)
+ TFA plans special activities for frozen out Corps members (Gotham Schools)
+ Shut out Teaching Fellows can earn $250/week for extra training (Gotham Schools)
+ 1,800 open jobs as hiring freeze wears on (Gotham Schools
+ Charter school pays big salaries and asks a lot in return (Christian Science Monitor)

Digg It!DZone It!StumbleUponTechnoratiRedditDel.icio.usNewsVineFurlBlinkList

Currently rated 2.2 by 10 people

  • Currently 2.2/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:   , ,
Categories:  
Actions:   E-mail | del.icio.us | Share on Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Farewell, Reading Rainbow

Friday, 28 August 2009 13:55 by Eli Savit

Today, PBS aired the final new episode of Reading Rainbow, the Lavar Burton show that aimed to impart a love of reading to young children.   My reaction upon hearing this news was fourfold, and can be adequately expressed using the emoticons that come with this blog platform:

Surprised1) Reading Rainbow was still on?  (Yep--and had been running for twenty six years!) 
Frown2) That sucks that they cancelled it.
Cool3) What was that song again?  Butterfly in the sky...I can fly twice as high...take a look...it's in a book...a reading rainbow... 
Undecided4) Oh well, I guess it had to end sometime.  

But then I read why they cancelled it.  Yell.  

According to this NPR report, the triumverate that funded Reading Rainbow--PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the US Department of Education--decided that spending money on a show that attempts to impart a love of reading was no longer a good investment.  Instead, these entities wanted to shift their entire focus to basic reading skills, like phonics and spelling instruction.   

Now, phonics and spelling are clearly necessary components in training literate kids.  But ultimately, we also need to teach kids to want to read. After all, if we only teach kids about the basic mechanics of reading, what on earth is going to make them want to pick up a book on their own?  Few people read just because they are technically able to recognize phonetical sounds.  They read because they want to know about interesting stuff.  Reading Rainbow was great because it consistently let children know that incredible adventures awaited them in books.

Maybe Reading Rainbow's time was up anyway--I'm not sure how well today's kids were responding to Geordi La Forge telling them about books.  But the wholesale rejection of the concept that we should teach kids to love reading is disturbing and, in my view, entirely wrong-headed.  

But you don't have to take my word for it....

Digg It!DZone It!StumbleUponTechnoratiRedditDel.icio.usNewsVineFurlBlinkList

Currently rated 1.8 by 46 people

  • Currently 1.847826/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:   , , , , ,
Categories:   News
Actions:   E-mail | del.icio.us | Share on Facebook | Permalink | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Weekly News Roundup: August 21

Friday, 21 August 2009 22:03 by Brendan Campbell

Editor's Note: This is our weekly news roundup of education-related events nationwide and in our launch regions, compiled by one of our amazing interns. 

National:
+ Choosing a program to improve your future (New York Times)
+ Digital textbooks may lighten students' backpacks (NPR)
+ How to bear the tuition burden without a paycheck (New York Times)
+ Rules change where college students can live off campus (Washington Post)
+ Study finds that online education beats the classroom (New York Times)
+ Dean encourages professors to teach tech-free (NPR)
+ Stars aligning on school lunches (New York Times)
+ Colleges warned about potential H1N1 outbreaks (Washington Post)
+ Remaking the campus tour (New York Times)
+ Job prospects for recent graduates (NPR)
+ Dangling money, Obama pushes education shift (New York Times)

Chicago:
+ Parents battle over the future of magnet school (Chicago Tribune)

D.C. Metro:
+ 3-strikes attendance policy ends (Washington Post)
+ Activists and families rally to restore 216 rescinded tuition vouchers (Washington Post)
+ Free vaccinations for students (Washington Post)
+ DC school database behind schedule (Washington Post)
+ DC schools shows fluctuations in test scores (Washington Post)  

New York:
+ Charter school construction grows (New York Times)
+ 2,000 Brooklyn kids getting new school supplies (Brooklyn Eagle)

Digg It!DZone It!StumbleUponTechnoratiRedditDel.icio.usNewsVineFurlBlinkList

Currently rated 1.7 by 44 people

  • Currently 1.727273/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:   , , ,
Categories:   Chicago | D.C. | New York | News | Weekly News Roundup
Actions:   E-mail | del.icio.us | Share on Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Weekly News Roundup: August 14

Friday, 14 August 2009 21:57 by Brendan Campbell

Editor's Note: This is our weekly news roundup of education-related events nationwide and in our launch regions, compiled by one of our amazing interns. 

National:
+ Textbook publisher to rent to college students (New York Times
+ Study shows rise in student borrowing (New York Times)
+ Is college worth it for everyone? (Education Sector)
+ Tenn. schools agree to stop blocking LGBT websites (NPR)
+ New Swine Flu guidelines suggest schools stay open (Washington Post)
+ In the digital future, textbooks are history (New York Times), Barnes & Noble to sell more online textbooks (NPR)
+ Sharpton, Gingrich, Duncan announce education tour (US DOE)
+ Donations to public schools increase (Education Sector)
+ Students pay for unpaid internships (New York Times)
+ Billions of stimulus money goes unspent (NPR)
+ Gambling with college savings (Education Sector)
+ 20 states still allow school beatings (This Week in Education)
+ Colleges trying to firm up shaky freshman enrollment (Washington Post)

Chicago:
+ Chicago Public Schools still face deficits (Chicago Tribune)
+ School pay scales (
Chicago Tribune)
+ An argument for year round schooling (
Chicago Now)

Detroit:
+ DPS names new general superintendent (Detroit Free Press)
+ The fight to control Detroit Public Schools (Michigan Radio) 

New York:
+ Mayor Bloomberg plans millions more to community colleges (New York Times), says he'll pitch in himself (Gotham Schools)
+ Bloomberg to stop promoting low-performing fourth and sixth graders (
New York Times)
+ Busing halts because of recession (
New York Times)
+ Congress mulls renewal of Child Nutrition Act (
WNYC)
+ Standardized tests' standards lowered (
New York Daily News)

 

Digg It!DZone It!StumbleUponTechnoratiRedditDel.icio.usNewsVineFurlBlinkList

Currently rated 1.7 by 58 people

  • Currently 1.672415/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:   , , , ,
Categories:   Chicago | Detroit | New York | Weekly News Roundup
Actions:   E-mail | del.icio.us | Share on Facebook | Permalink | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed