Opinion
Education Opinion

Friday Guest Column: Ideablob.com offers micro-capital prize for self-starting edupreneurs

August 01, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Carol Glenn, who received her B.A. from Cornell University in May of this year, is the developer of Bronze. Ideablob.com is a prize program sponsored by credit card issuer Advanta Bank Corporation. (Edbizbuzz has no business relationships with Advanta or Ms. Glenn.)

Nearly everyone who has dedicated his or her life to the education crises in America knows how difficult it is to find scalable solutions to the problems in urban school districts. Some ideas earn seemingly endless support despite light results, while programs and methods that work struggle to find funding. I’ve been frustrated with the slow pace of change in Black and Latino communities, so I wanted to create a solution that could circumvent the political and grant-seeking processes in favor of internal sustainability.
Bronze is a place for students (particularly older students) to hang out after school. Students are expected to come in and learn something new each day. They will be given assignments that have a point value, and expected to earn a minimum number of points each day. Once the assigned period for study ends and students have met their daily quotas, they will be able to use their points to play video games, watch movies, play indoor miniature golf, use computers, or just grab a hot meal in a cafe (i.e., Dave & Busters meets the freedom of a college campus). This provides incentives but also has the effect of creating a student community where it is okay to be smart.

In order to help get it off the ground, I entered the idea at Ideablob.com, a monthly contest where entrepreneurs submit their ideas to a vote. The prize -$10,000.
It’s free and easy to register. Members have the opportunity to submit their own ideas, offer advice, comment, and vote.

The contest works like this: The first 3 weeks of every month, there are 1 week “sprints.” The sprints allow the 2 ideas that earned the most amount of votes in a week to go into the final that occurs during the 4th and last week. At the beginning of the 4th week, all votes go back to zero and 8 finalists face off to earn the most votes. The idea with the most votes wins. The next sprint starts August 1st.

More about Bronze:

There is no shortage of after school programs, but if my friends and I were anything like the majority of teens, the last thing older students want is to be tightly scheduled hours after the last bell. At the same time, there needs to be a certain period where structure is imposed long enough to get a bit of learning in. For a variety of reasons the school day just isn’t enough to make a real difference in academic achievement. Even worse, changing anything within a school requires a substantial amount of patience and political clout if the community isn’t united. After school time represents an incredible opportunity to find out what works best with inner city students, prove it, and make solid recommendations for parents and the community to fight for.

The education sector is notoriously anti-profit, but I have reasons for choosing a business model.

• The ability to hire and properly compensate quality staff without having to justify it to politicians or the IRS.

• The ability to scale if there is demand, regardless of what foundations and government can and cannot do.

• Freedom to use different teaching methods and textbooks, and freedom to keep updated technology.

• Ability to do research and development on best education practices without the red tape.

• Most importantly, I could focus on the needs of my customers (parents and students), instead of politicians and foundations.

Please have a look at Ideablob, review Bronze, register - and vote!

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP