Science Foundation Arizona is giving $15 million to rural schools throughout the state for classroom supplies and professional development in science and math.
The non-profit organization conducted a survey of principals and teachers in Arizona’s 13 rural counties and released a study “exposing a desperate situation.”
“These people are begging for the resources to do their jobs and I’m talking about the basics like supplies for their classroom, books with all the pages in them, a computer so they can work in the classroom rather than waiting hours or weeks for 30 minute of computer time,” said Margaret Mullen, COO of Science Foundation Arizona.
The $15 million will be distributed to rural schools in the next three years starting with Navajo and Apache counties because they show the greatest need, she said.
Schools can get up to $10,000 for equipment and professional development.
“Science and math today are very different than they were 20 years ago,” Muller said. “Teachers are saying ‘teach us how to teach kids today’ with modern skills.”
Urban school districts can sometimes get funding from corporations or private businesses but it is harder for rural schools, Mullen said.
“Though this initiative focuses on rural counties, Science Foundation Arizona continues to invest in Maricopa and Pima counties,” Mullen said. Since 2007 the organization has spent more than $100 million.