How are decisions made that commit funds for online services to individual teachers? I have been searching online to see if data exist on how frequently individual teachers are given a budget, allocation or allowance for instructional resources they can apply in their classrooms. I came up with nothing. My wife tells me this is not how it is done. Teachers write grants or seek funds from the PTO, but they are not allocated funds to be applied as the teacher believes meet classroom needs. Hmm….. Self-determination is such an important motivator.
I started thinking about this because I try to keep track of the costs of various online services I recommend. I start from the assumption that free is not a long term strategy for quality resources.
Just to make a guess at what such an allocation might look like I generated a short list for what a 5th-grade teacher might request. My items included:
I could not find a NewSela chart, but I did locate a source I am using for estimation ($18 per student).
Total request for a 25 student class (no other classes involved) – $40 + $25×9 (five licenses = $225) + $18 x 25 ($450) = $715.
I suppose this seems like a lot. Newsela can be accessed at no cost, but the Pro version offers a management system allowing individualization (tracking) of individual students. I assume this would be the major purchase in the literacy area for the classroom.
I must admit to having no personal experience as a K12 administrator. I have a lot of experience as a college administrator, but my budget contained very little for instructional resources. Students purchased their own books and supplies. My instructional resource budget was a hold over from the days we rented a few instructional films and was never removed.
The online blogs of various K12 folks describe their use of the type of services I list here. I can explain to future or practicing teachers how these tools work. What I cannot track is how experiences with such services translate into use in classrooms.