Partnering at the lowest common denominator
The folks at Topics Education, my old stomping grounds, take the initiative to volunteer their time and talents with the local school district. They talk with the office of strategic partnerships - the point people for business/education relationships for the entire school district - and what do they hear?
"Sure, you can volunteer. Come read to little kids. Or if you're not comfortable with that, you can answer phones and make copies."
This is a company made up of some very bright, talented, and experienced people. They've worked in the education field for years and could bring so much to the table given the opportunity.
Why not tap into their insight into the effective use of ed tech? Or their experience engaging kids? Or their experience in reaching out to other businesses? Or expertise in project management? Or background in print/online publishing? Or their national network of specialists in a multitude of areas?
There's so much these folks could bring to the table, and I have no doubt they could design and implement a project that could make a real impact for CMS and its stakeholders. That's why it's so disappointing to hear the district's response: "No, we don't want any of that. We'd rather you save us $5.15/hour by making copies."
There's no way that this is an isolated case - we have a long way to go in fully leveraging the talents of the business community to support education.