Cash Class

The Problem

American education is an expensive endeavor. It is one of the highest categories of government spending, but the system is still struggling to yield strong academic outcomes for all children across socioeconomic class and race. In 2002 federal discretionary funding for education was at $49 million and in 2016 it was at $68 million. There has been a 40% increase in education funding, but yet not a 40% increase in educational improvements. Clearly spending more money does not yield better educational outcomes in the US. This can be seen most dramatically in the case where Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark Public Schools in an effort to transform Newark schools in five years; five years later all the money was spent and Newark schools were still an absolute mess. So where is all the money going?

There is little data analysis conducted on where the government directs funds, how schools spend money, and how this spending does or doesn’t correlate with student performance. Current school funding evaluation is at a very high level based on grants or per pupil spending and then very granular with school budgets and audits. There needs to be effective analysis and tracking of the middle spending in public schools from the local to federal level.


The Solution

To foster effective spending in public K-12 education that yields academic results for our kids we bring you Cash Class. At the school, district, state, and even federal levels Cash Class will track and analyze spending to discover causational relationships between financial allocation and students achievement to learn what spending patterns tend to be successful. Cash Class will analyze major data sets and intake new data of participants to build personal recommendations of how budgets should be allocated given funding available and the goals of the educational entity. The services of Cash Class would be valuable to help a single principal better allocate their budget or a federal grant office decide where competitive funding is most needed to actually improve academic outcomes.  

There will be two levels of membership in Cash Class. A basic level membership will provide access to insightful trends at the national and state level associated compared with  standardized test performance. The premium membership will provide specialized contracts to pursue personal academic and financial goals of the educational entity.


The Design

So how does Cash Class work? Our product would combine internal and external sensors with machine and human algorithms to look at historical financial and academic data, in the effort to find causational relationships between specific budget allocations and academic mobility. As the the machine algorithms find and learn patterns, humans can help add specific context to the locality of a certain school or the directives associated with certain government funding. With this level of analysis the machine can identify key spending patterns in coordination with academic performance to make strategic recommendations for future spending. The more data the school or government entity can provide the better the machine algorithms will learn and the better the recommendations will become.

In order to achieve this we would utilize machine learning to flag spending and student achievement trends across all publicly available data (and private data as available), and use human feedback to confirm the plausibility of correlation. This machine and human data interpretation would be synthesized to generate major budget recommendations along with everyday spending guidance based on the client and their achievement goals. Cash Class could recommend that a school allocate $750 K to staffing and also that spending money on an online reading program may help elementary boys of low socioeconomic status accelerate their reading growth. As time progresses more spending and academic data will be added to system to help machines and humans improve budget recommendations to make better financial and educational choices for the future of America’s children.


The Competitive Advantage

There are currently accounting systems that help schools manage everyday cash flow and end of year financial accounting, but nothing that analyzes historical data to help build predictive budget models. Cash Class would be an entirely new level of money management for American education.

Group: Women Communicate Better Than Men

Ngozika Uzoma, David Cramer, Kellie Braam, Chantelle Pires, Emily Shaw


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