A Cinnaminson man is helping to head up a nonprofit organization that raises money for charter schools to implement more technology into their classrooms.
The group, called Tech2Educate, is awaiting nonprofit status, but hasn’t wasted any time spreading the word to schools in Philadelphia and beyond.
“We are going to try and encourage independent schools in the city to embrace technology and not shove it to the side,” said Tony Perry, a 2008 Cinnaminson High School graduate who received a political science degree from Temple University in May.
Perry met up with his friend James Johnson the day the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in the National League Division Series last year.
“That’s how I remember the day,” he said.
Johnson said he wanted to start a nonprofit that helps students and wanted Perry as a partner.
“In the beginning,” Perry said, “it had nothing to do with technology to be perfectly honest.”
For the next few months, the two hashed out details and landed on the idea of technology in schools.
Doing months of research, the two met with school officials in the city to talk about their plan—even getting advice from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s chief of staff.
Tech2Educate was incorporated early this year and should receive 501(c)3 status next month.
Perry found out charter schools in the city receive about 20 percent less funding than traditional public schools.
“It’s a huge issue,” Perry said. “We’ve come to the point where we don’t know whether or not it’s bureaucracy that is stalling education as we watch our educational numbers slide downhill. It’s a funding issue.”
Here’s how the group works. Once their website is up and running, schools can create an online profile outlining their wish lists for technology. They can document the exact technology they want for specific projects. People can donate to a specific class, to a specific school or into the general fund and the organizers will put the money where it’s needed.
“You see exactly where your funds are going,” Perry said.
Right now, the group is focusing primarily on Philadelphia but do have several schools with New Jersey that have expressed a technology need.
“Technology can engage students,” Perry said. “It can give teachers the ability to monitor more closely. It keeps them connected. That’s the main key.”
He praises Cinnaminson High School teacher Kathleen Hennelly for helping to implement Bring Your Own Technology into the school there.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “That’s similar to what Tech2Educate wants to do.”
Whether it be a few more computers, email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, e-readers, tablets and more, Perry said implementing this technology can even come at a cost savings, since money could be saved on materials.
“In my opinion, we’re preparing students for the 1960s,” he said. “We’re putting our students farther behind and they are not taking away from their education what they need to be taking. They are not being taught the skills they need to survive in the business world we live in today.”