Summary: Pandemic Professors is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded by UC Berkeley alumni to help keep education accessible during and after the pandemic. Our kind and intelligent volunteers are students and recent grads from UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, Columbia, Stanford, Northwestern, Penn, USC, and more. We are seeing enormous demand for our services coming into a fall semester that is filled with uncertainty surrounding children's education. We have built a free tutoring and socioemotional learning service for low-income children and are developing an online platform for tutors/teachers/parents to collaborate on a child's education. This GoFundMe will help us become the vaccine to the educational pandemic.
***A donation of $45 covers a full year of tutoring for a low-income student!***
***All donations are 100% tax-deductible***
The full story: COVID-19 has taken us all for one helluvaride. We are not only facing a health disaster but an economic one. At this point, most of us are at least loosely connected to someone who has died from the virus. Now that we have come out of our mandated hibernations we are starting to see the world is different. K-12 education is not immune to these changes and the detriments to a lacking education have far-reaching negative impacts.
An estimated 10 million low-income students fell behind in the spring without often expensive tutoring to keep them up to speed. Middle and upper-class students had far more access to educational help. This is causing a growth in the educational achievement between socioeconomic groups.
School districts were forced to move to remote learning almost overnight. Parents had to balance being in the house all day while simultaneously working from home (if they were lucky) while parenting and serving as home-school teachers. Reports from across the country painted a grim picture of learning outcomes, with some school districts calling it quits before the school year was even over.
The reason this battle is being lost is multi-faceted. However, one major and obvious issue is that our school system is not built for online education. Class size was already an issue when you were within 40 feet of all your students. Now it falls on parents to organize their children's day and to give them the one-on-one attention they need to fully grasp the material. This becomes a herculean task in homes with parents who work during school hours; are unfamiliar with content; or do not speak or read English.
We are seeing an educational pandemic. Research on educational outcomes for children who were forced to miss school due to Hurricane Katrina showed that children who missed just one single semester took an average of 2 years to catch up. Now, take that statistic and apply it to 10 million of our nation's poorest students. The consequences will reverberate through our economic and social lives for decades to come and will dampen growth, widen outcome gaps, and create social strife.
It is my belief that this can be avoided. There were an estimated 19 million college students in Fall 2019. If you add in recent graduates (those graduating in the past 2 years), the total number of current students and recent grads should be somewhere between 25 to 30 million. This means that for every 1 low-income student out of school we have 2-3 college students or recent grads. In other words, we have a way to flatten the curve of this economic pandemic. The only stimulus package required is this GoFundMe.
With the Fall semester coming we are seeing an enormous spike in demand; thousands of students being shown our way via community organizations and school districts. To accommodate this we need funding. We are a volunteer-based org but still have operational expenses.
The core features of the Pandemic Professors' service:
-Evidence- based intervention strategy that emphasizes the importance of learning and social connection.
-When schools return to in-person instruction, strategically partner with school districts whose students are lagging the most.
-Creating a technological middle-ground where tutors, teachers, and parents can collaborate on student materials and share progress and notes.
-Continuing services long after the pandemic has gone away. The impacts of the educational pandemic will rage for quite some time after.
The costs behind our services:
-Scheduling software. The current way is manual, arduous, and makes oversight difficult. This is the biggest expense at 60k for a year but would allow us to serve 3000-4000 kids.
-Working to create our integrated tech solution for all-in-one scheduling and tutor/teacher/parent collaboration (40-60k for creation and maintenance).
-Legal fees. We work in several states, each with their own requirements.
-Additional background screenings (these are kids).
-Individual email accounts for tutors and staff. We currently share 1 for the entire organization.
-Incentives for college students volunteering their time.
-The unforeseen expenses that will undoubtedly show up.
Making this happen is a win-win for all of us. We need an educated populace to thrive as a society. You might be wondering why we care. Well, the issue of education is personal to us at Pandemic Professors various personal reasons. Our founder had his own education interrupted when he was in grade school. He ended up graduating from an alternative school, never receiving the guidance needed to reach college. He went on to work in movie theaters and fast-food restaurants until somebody gave me a shot at 23. After remedial courses, free tutoring through a low-income students’ program, and 4 years at a 2-year community college, he went on to graduate from UC Berkeley. It was a very long and very hard path, one we do not think students should have to go through to reach their dreams. We are hoping to build a bridge for