What does the future of educational inequity look like?
Inequitable access to EdTech is fundamentally an educational opportunity inequity. Project FoundED is on a prescient mission to reorient the edtech ecosystem towards equitable outcomes for students.
Schools serving mostly students of color or low-income students lack access to advanced courses, grade-appropriate standards, and rigorous, engaging coursework. These are fundamental inequities that we all agree must be solved.
Providing equitable access to high quality, evidence-based EdTech is a digital parallel to the aforementioned inequities. But while there’s consensus agreement and commensurate investments towards addressing the former, there’s relative inactivity from educators on the latter—this even as 87% of educators report using digital learning in their classrooms several times a week.
Equitable access to culturally affirming, evidence-based edtech fundamentally means increasing the supply of evidence-based options available to schools. But the difficulties of the current procurement climate mean more companies going the D2C route, and schools losing access to the universe of available options. This is creating a situation where schools substitute brand for quality and poor Black and Brown kids lose out on the educational benefits of edtech.
We are, in essence, moving in the direction of entrenching current educational inequities into our digital future. Thankfully, there’s overwhelming interest among edtech entrepreneurs to solve this problem; and a growing number of forward-thinking educators joining the conversation.
Inequitable access to EdTech is fundamentally an educational opportunity inequity. We are closer today than ever to closing the connectivity and device divides. 99% of schools have access to high-speed broadband connection and 90% of school district leaders report providing a device to every middle and high school student. The time is now to engage educators more fully in efforts at solving the last remaining frontier of digital inequity–educational courseware.
As CEO, I look forward to partnering with educators and entrepreneurs to elevate this into mainstream discussions of educational inequity. But beyond discourse, we need practice-based evidence of what works to enable equitable distribution of high quality edtech. Going forward, we will partner with educators, researchers, and entrepreneurs to bring this evidence to bear.
Project FoundED is on a prescient mission to reorient the edtech ecosystem towards equitable outcomes for students. A formidable but surmountable task. At a basic level it means giving educators more options to choose from, and building their capacity to discern quality and implement with fidelity. A district procurement climate where quality wins is precisely the type of signal needed to reorient supply-side forces towards a focus on equity and outcomes.
The future of education inequity looks like inequitable access to high quality, culturally affirming EdTech. If we act now, we can make sure this does not become an entrenched reality.
-Habib Bangura, Project FoundED CEO
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Project FoundED Updates 📰
The Project FoundED board is thrilled to announce that Habib Bangura has accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of Project FoundED!
Habib has a deep passion for identifying and scaling education solutions that work. He most recently led the launch and scale of an education non-profit across 7 states. His work in this capacity resulted In system-wide adoption of evidence-based high school persistence models in 50+ school districts. Habib’s path towards ed-tech was inspired by experiences brokering mission-aligned partnerships between school districts and ed-tech companies; and his experience leading the development of data solutions now being used in 150+ schools.
Away from work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, and perfecting their favorite African and Caribbean dishes. Habib is energized by the timeliness of Project FoundED's mission, and is excited to partner with all ecosystem players to actualize ed-tech equity.
Join us Wednesday, March 29th at 10AM PT/1:00PM ET as we co-host an event with Long Term Impact fund on Product-Sales fit. At Long Term Impact, we believe many PreK-12 edtech founders fail to find product-market fit because they neglect finding product-sales fit – they fail to make something that buyers want. But what are we supposed to be “finding” when we are finding product-sales fit? In this session, Daniel Jhin Yoo, Founder at Goalbook and Long Term Impact, will share the three most important questions that early stage founders should focus their sales activities toward to find product-sales fit – to make something buyers want.
Build on your foundations of K-12 sales with the Procurement: Pathways to Sales Workshop Series | April 4-14th. In this two-week sprint, RYE Collective experts will teach your team how to utilize the procurement process to increase brand recognition, partnership footprint, and revenue in K-12 districts across the country. After learning how to navigate successful proposal submissions, including what documentation you need to prepare, how to weigh the risk and benefits of opportunities, and unpack legal requirements like data privacy, your team will walk away with a strategic procurement plan.
Will you be at the BETT Conference? Thursday, March 30th hop on the EdTech party bus and join the SuperCharger Ventures team for a evening of food, drinks and networking after the second day of the BETT conference. The Heroica Lounge is located just minutes away from the ExCeL center and is an excellent pizzeria in a converted iconic London double decker red bus.
RYE Collective Focus on Funding Apr 11th 09:00 AM PT. The US Education system is funded at the federal, state and local level. During this session, we will provide companies a foundational understanding of: ESSA Title Funds, IDEA Funding, ESSER I-III Funds, CARES Act Funding. During the session we will support companies in understanding how aligning their product to specific funding buckets will drive purchasing decisions and discuss the time of year sales decisions happen.
Join EdTech Recharge for the first Learn and Level up session of 2023 on March 22nd at noon PT/3pm ET! Michelle Garces, Founder of UpliftK12 and Mehul Shah, Rally Hustler 2021 share their impact journey including defining impact, types of research they have done and plan to do, and tips on choosing an impact partner that works for you. The event retains EdTech Recharge Learn and Level up typical format of a 20 minute presentation, 20 minutes for your questions and the last 20 minutes for optional 1:1 networking to level up. Stay as long as you want; leave when you're ready.
Funding Opportunities 💰
Google for Startups, Black Founders Fund (DUE March 26). The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund provides $150,000 cash awards — without giving up equity in return — and hands-on support to help Black entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses in the US. In addition to non-dilutive capital and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, recipients also receive hands-on mentorship from Googlers, along with other resources such as sales training, investor prep, mental health therapy, and community offerings at no cost.
NSVF is offering one-year, unrestricted grant between $150,000 and $250,000 to innovators who want to see students thrive. Learn more and apply by March 29th. US focus.
Black Ambition Prize (DUE May 8, 2023) Through two separate Prize tracks, the Black Ambition Prize competition provides a platform for Black, Hispanic and HBCU-affiliated founders across the nation to access growth capital, pitch feedback, and mentorship. Eligible applicants consist of Black and Hispanic innovators building early-stage ventures across five distinct categories. Eligible ventures will compete for awards between $15,000 to $1,000,000. Up to 250 semi-finalists will be selected, with one grand prize winner receiving $1,000,000.
Through its dynamic ecosystem, the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) celebrates purpose-driven ventures that address persistent and emerging problems in education. The EBPC is open to applicants worldwide who are committed to tackling systemic barriers in education through innovation and to advancing equitable opportunities for all learners and communities. Apply by March 22nd.
In ed tech, your path to impact is through partnership with large organizations. Click | the Startup Accelerator for Corporate Partnership, can help! Click is an ongoing low-cost program for startups who need to get ready for partnership, licensing or acquisition. Low monthly fee gets you a readiness evaluation and report, weekly group coaching, and low-stakes conversations with corporate innovation leaders. Learn more and apply here!
Promise Venture Studios call for nominations: Show+Tell Innovations for Equity. We’re inviting ventures, experts, funders, and equity advocates to nominate early childhood innovations driving equitable mental health and early education outcomes in areas particularly impacted by interrupted early learning resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic, systemic racism, or other systemic inequities. Please help us by nominating ventures, experts, funders, and equity advocates to feature in our upcoming Show+Tell, including self-nominations.
Apply to participate in EdTech Recharge's annual Product Crystallization Rally by March 30th for a 40% discount. Earn an additional 10% discount with code 'Founded2023'. Rally for 5 days (10 hours) and leave with (i) a complete draft of your product’s logic model, (ii) a preliminary research agenda to be geared for ongoing impact, and (iii) templates to plan and execute your own usability and feasibility studies. Bonus: Consult with Dr. Kripa Sundar, as part of the Rally, for free! Apply today.
Long-term Impact Fund explains Product-Sales fit in EdTech.
Project FoundED is a community of EdTech founders that aim to influence our industry to focus on equitable learning outcomes for all learners. We provide our community access to sales, fundraising, and networking resources so that the most impactful EdTech solutions can rise to the top.
Tech in Ed is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.