- Nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies are filling gaps in school curricula by providing after-school opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art and math for elementary schoolers.
- Lancaster Online reports budget cuts and high-stakes tests in reading and math have pushed science and art instruction off the table in many elementary districts, creating a void for external businesses and organizations to fill.
- These businesses have seen rapid growth in demand and revenues, finding governments and foundations are happy to pay for the external support and families are willing to write their own checks for tuition.
School budgets are tight. Once all the mandatory costs are considered, many schools find little extra to sponsor after-school activities or go beyond a narrow curriculum designed, in some subjects, to help students pass standardized tests. Part of the changing model of K-12 education includes a reliance on external partners to expand opportunities for students beyond the school day, filling some of the gaps this type of education creates.
Under these circumstances, students who can pay tuition can participate and it is up to the outside organizations to prioritize scholarships for students from lower-income families. This can be dangerous when it comes to achievement gaps. When these opportunities fall only outside of the school day and they come with a price tag, certain students are necessarily excluded from the enrichment activity. Administrators might consider strategies for addressing this gap as they look for partners in the business community.