Public education should never be dependent on charity. It should be equitably and sustainably funded. But today, education funding is faced with economic hardship, slashed budgets, and political upheaval. Where dollars are invested in education reform, it is too often a slapdash, cookie cutter initiative that doesn't stick around long enough to make an impact or adapt to meet the real needs of students. Today, there are nonprofits and public-private partnerships doing great work to fill in the gaps in education and work on the ground with teachers, school leaders, parents and communities. BIKE fundraising rides generate dollars to support those organizations and advocate for a future where their programs are the heart of, not a supplement to, public education. BIKE supports no single pedagogy, type of school or political ideology. But it does rest on a few simple ideas:
- Educating children means giving them the tools they need to learn successfully when negotiating poverty and other challenges.
- This responsibility does not lie singularly with teachers, administrators or any other stakeholder, but with all those stakeholders working together in the community.
- We need a better investment in public education.
- A better investment means not just monetary resources, but a better, smarter investment of attention, creativity and cooperation on everyone's part to ensure that money is well spent meeting real needs in a way that works for students and schools. State and national level initiatives and leadership can be powerful tools, but local insight must drive them.
- Nonprofits programming, charter schools, and private foundations can meet immediate needs and form fertile ground for new ideas.
- But at the end of the day, government and society have the responsibility to ensure that education stays public, distributed equitably, funded sustainably and available to every child.