While K-12 education in the United States is both compulsory and free, the U.S. continues to face myriad issues when it comes to providing all children with quality education. Underfunded public schools and income disparity are among the chief obstacles students face today, along with a startling rise in school violence. Academic success is heavily determined by family income, with children from affluent families entering school more prepared than their less affluent peers.

In fact, though the United States spends more money per student, per year than other developed nations, it ranks among the lowest for math and science test scores. Public school teachers often put in time outside of their contracted work hours and use their own money to purchase classroom supplies, perhaps contributing to rampant teacher burnout and a growing lack of quality educators. According to dosomething.org, 14% of new teachers resign after their first year, 33% after their first 3 and nearly 50% resign by their 5th year. Additionally, while there is a growing demand for college-educated workers, college tuition continues to rise unchecked, forcing students to either skip college or take on significant debt in order to attain higher education. 

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Learning outcomes from music education include higher reading and math scores, improved self-esteem, pride, and accomplishment, as well as the myriad intangible benefits youth get from exposure to the arts. Unfortunately, the arts are often the first to be cut from a school's budget, and these cuts disproportionately affect rural and inner-city schools. Project Music aims to bring a piece of that critical creative learning back into students' lives. 

Located in Stamford, Connecticut, Project Music is an immersive music education and enrichment program, providing after-school music instruction to inner-city students four days a week at no cost. In addition to instruction in a variety of instruments, students also give numerous performances throughout the year in a myriad of settings. These performances help the students gain familiarity with performing, making it a more natural part of their music making process. This supports them in gaining confidence and taking pride in their own growth. Performances also give parents and the larger community opportunities to share in the students’ growth and achievement, and see the consistent progress they are making.  

This is a Local+Global Initiative

Keep California Beautiful: K-12 Recycling Challenge 2016

To support environmental awareness and recycling, PaperSeed supports Keep California Beautiful in a friendly competition and bench marking tool for school recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to students, families, faculty and staff. Participating classrooms, schools and districts will track and report how much recyclable material they collect for a chance to win prizes. 

We are very excited for the opportunity to continue this initiative with the support of our partners in 2016.

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