21 November 2013

Blackboard Jungle

There is something especially heartbreaking to me that teachers don’t have the tools they need to accomplish the very basics when it comes to educating their students. 

Earlier this year, I gave to a campaign via Donorschoose, which funds projects by teachers, and today I found another one. 

Richmond (Calif.) High School is in a high poverty area. A chemistry teacher there is trying to get the absolute basics to help his students, whom he desperately wants to keep motivated. When I say basics, I mean items like colored pencils, a pencil sharpener (singular), binders, a hole punch and safety glasses. Items that it is inconceivable the public school system can’t provide. Instead, teachers, most of whom are woefully underpaid, are going into their own pockets to fund these things. 

Mr. Dunn, the chemistry teacher, writes that most of his students are English speaking from Latino backgrounds. “They are full of spirit, constantly trying to outwit me and can be frequently found hiding the fact that they truly do love science. Many of my students come rom a very impoverished background, which means our school and district are severely underfunded...We simply cannot afford to purchase general supplies on our own, and any help is definitely appreciated.” 

Many of the supplies he seeks, such as whiteboards, will be used for group work, which, in addition to studying the material presented, teaches students to play well with others and problem solve as a team. 

Mr. Dunn’s DonorsChoose page has an itemized list of his supplies purchased on Amazon. They are the bare minimum of what a teacher needs to be effective. I don’t know how we got to this, where our public schools exist in this run-down state when every politician will scream from the roof tops that educating our children is a priority (right before they cut school budgets), but it is crazy that he has to turn to private donations for the most basic of tools. 

Today’s $10 goes to Mr. Dunn’s classroom at Richmond High School and his 175 students. 

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