Time Banking Helps Parents Tackle Educational Inequality

Time Banking Helps Parents Tackle Educational Inequality

A Strong Family-School Connection is Critical but Comes at a Cost

Today's schools, whether public or private, rely on parental involvement for everything from bridging budgetary shortfalls to volunteering for administrative duties to providing regular classroom support. At home, parents are not only expected to provide classroom-parallel learning environments for their children but to have the time to support their children's homework and extracurricular activities. The parental support students—most critically young students—receive at school and at home can have an impact on long-term academic achievement.

In order to foster a strong family-school connection, teachers must be able to inspire and motivate parents to engage in sustained partnerships. In addition, parents must have access to a range of resources:

  • Substantial time available to spend helping their children.
  • Discretionary income to close funding gaps at school and to provide for required materials and technologies at home.
  • Language fluency to understand and explain the material their children are engaging with in school.

Instead of Leveling the Playing Field, America’s Public Education System Increases Inequality

In the United States, families without discretionary income, families where the parents or parent work full time or multiple or shift-work jobs, single-parent families, and families where English may be the second language for some or all members, are at a distinct disadvantage. Schools in underserved neighborhoods are unable to provide the same opportunities to their students at schools in more affluent communities just a few miles away. With the income gap in America continuing to widen, addressing inequality is more critical than ever.

The larger structures that impact employment, immigration, income and the economy must undergo fundamental changes if we are to pursue real social, economic, and educational equality. But changing society takes time. What can we do to help students, families, and educators right now? 

Time Banking with The Urban Helper: A Cashless System Parents and Educators Can Use to Share Resources and Skills 

The Urban Helper is a new way to make connections within communities for the purpose of helping each other get things done. Parents, tutors, and educators at your school can join The Urban Helper, identify the skills they can offer (such as errand running, school pick-up/drop-off, freezer meals, tutoring in specific subjects, and more), and then provide these skills to other families in exchange for U-Brix, The Urban Helper’s cashless, time-based currency. With The Urban Helper, you can earn U-Brix by providing skills to other families and can spend U-Brix on the skills your own family needs, or on services offered in the wider community. 

The Urban Helper encourages productive connections, makes it easy to ask for and offer help, and provides a frictionless, flexible way to exchange time.

Join the beta test for The Urban Helper to see how it can work for your children, family, school, and community.