Why I'm #TeamEdstruments: Farhan, Strategy and Operations Analyst
After finishing a year as a high-school teacher in Baltimore, this recent college grad is ready to make impact outside the classroom through working in K-12 school finance.
Farhan Khera never expected to become a teacher.
After reflecting on how education changed his family’s life, however, this Arizona native realized he wanted to pay-it-forward to future generations. During college, as he created a set of beliefs and principles that he wanted to guide his career, he ended up at a crossroads between two fields: education and healthcare.
“My senior year, I had to sit down and figure out what I wanted to do,” said Farhan, whose parents expressed interest in him becoming a doctor. “Education made the most sense.” With a passion for cultivating free-thinkers, Farhan set his sights east and joined Teach For America in Baltimore, where his older brother also resides. “In order to solve a problem, I had to understand it or be able to define it in some capacity, and because of that, I needed to be in the classroom,” said Farhan of joining TFA. He taught high-school English in the Baltimore City Public School District, an assignment that was as rewarding as it was challenging. With his students sometimes lacking consistent nutrition and housing, Farhan had to learn to teach in an environment where students faced daunting, structural barriers to reaching their full potential. “It’s a very emotionally challenging job because you know these issues exist, and you know students have a harder time paying attention because of them.”
Gaining this first-hand experience as an educator was one way Farhan hoped to answer two questions: what is possible within the education system as a whole, and how do you solve the equity problem in education? To continue answering these questions, Farhan decided to transition out of teaching and pivot into education finance.
Student learning, federal funding, and school resource allocation have been inequitable at the local, state, and federal level for decades. Extensive research confirms that these inequities lead to lower student learning outcomes, and, ultimately, a less competitive U.S society. These complex, structural problems require innovative, evidence-based solutions, something Farhan knows through research and his own teaching experience.“Equity problems can’t just be solved within the education system,” he noted, “they also have to be solved outside the education system, and that’s what brought me to Edstruments.” As a company committed to equitable and efficient K-12 budgeting, Edstruments represents a finance software solution to a systemic problem that is especially important to address in the age of COVID-19. What will happen to public school funding because of coronavirus? The answer is clear: nothing good. With budget cuts due to collapsing income and sales taxes, efficient school budgeting and powerful school finance software are more important than ever for under-resourced districts and school sites. As a teacher, Farhan did not encounter the school finance aspects of school systems and K-12 budgeting, but he did see how administrators sunk their valuable time into meetings with the central office-- time they could have spent supporting their staff or students.
“Any time you have a centralized district, or anytime you’re trying to streamline things, you have more paperwork involved in every step,” said Farhan, who saw how the drain of such inefficiency was a pain point that a finance software solution could directly address. Through a Teach For America connection, Farhan met Edstruments CEO Aditya Kaddu, who had previously taught calculus in Houston through the organization. Now, Farhan is excited to explore the ways school finance software can improve K-12 budgeting, school finance systems, and, ultimately, student outcomes.
“I think education is the cornerstone of a successful, free, society,” says Farhan-- a belief that is already driving his impact in his new role. Edstruments is thrilled to have Farhan as part of the team and knows he is at the start of a brilliant career-- even if it’s one he never expected.
Edstruments exists to equip education leaders with the knowledge and tools to most effectively and equitably serve their students. To learn more about how we can help your school administrators make better financial decisions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form on our main website.