The admirable effort Two Screens For Teachers, which as you may guess is about getting teachers a second screen to use at home, has put together enough funds to get every educator in the Seattle Public School system a new monitor who needs one. They’re hoping it will spur others to pony up for a similar treatment at their local schools.
The idea of running a class with 30 kids while also juggling teaching materials and administrative stuff all on a single laptop screen is anxiety-inducing just to think about, and thousands of teachers have been doing just that for months.
Two Screens For Teachers was announced in September as a way to connect those educators who need a second monitor (which is to say, most of them) with people who want to pay for it — it’s that simple. Thousands of monitors have already been distributed, but the waiting list is more than 20,000 people long, the kind of scale where the needle only gets moved over time — which teachers have little of — or generosity.
Fortunately there are enough generous people with a bit of cash on hand in Seattle that the organization has enough to give a new monitor to all of the 3,000 or so teachers in Seattle public schools..View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Two Screens for Teachers (@twoscreensforteachers) on Oct 11, 2020 at 6:22pm PDT
Walk Score co-founders Matt Lerner and Mike Mathieu put the thing together in the first place, but a bunch of Seattle-based investors and entrepreneurs came together to raise the ~$430K needed to cover the costs of covering the whole district: “a matching grant from the Mark Torrance Foundation, a collection of early Amazon, Microsoft, and Redfin employees, and venture capitalists from the Madrona Venture Group and Pioneer Square Labs,” as the organization put it.
He’s hoping that the success in Seattle will activate similar communities all over the country where there are thousands more teachers in need.
“We’re asking our fellow techies in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham to show teachers they matter and keep students connected across the country,” said Lerner in a press release. Naturally other cities are welcome to join in as well, but those on the list have been challenged directly.
Lerner confirmed to me that Two Screens For Teachers would happily act as an intermediary, doing discounted bulk purchases of monitors (as opposed to matching individual donors with individual teachers, which was how it got started) and having regional leaders raise cash to cover the distribution to their local educators.
In the spirit of friendly competition, here’s hoping other cities, and the people in them looking for a way to give back tangibly in these hard times, will take up the gauntlet and get their educators this hugely helpful resource. You can learn more (or donate) at twoscreensforteachers.com.