It sucks that Donors Choose exists. For those unfamiliar, it's basically a Go Fund Me for classrooms instead of medical problems.
Like all such charities, it occasionally pops up in the news because some celebrity and/or business decides to sponsor a bunch of projects (like that time with Katy Perry and Staples) and we get a bunch of warm fuzzy stories and I just hate that stuff, because we shouldn't be celebrating the fact that schools are so underfunded that teachers have to depend on charity to help get the job done.
But here's the thing. We are where we are. I think the custom of tipping food servers is stupid and terrible and should be done away with yesterday. But if I refuse to tip my server because I disagree with the system, I'm just being a jerk. I don't like enabling a system that's failing classroom teachers, but we are where we are, and especially now that I'm comfortably retired, I'm okay involving the institute in small time philanthropy. Donors Choose makes it easy for someone like me who is out in rural small town America to help. And what we've been through in the last month or four years or so has sort of reminded me that it's important to take active steps to make the world marginally better.
And yes, some of what turns up on Donors Choose makes me scratch my head and ask, "Really??" But then, I can still choose.
So here's what I'm going to do. Mondays, I'll be looking at Donors Choose to find a cause that speaks to me, and I will share a link here. I invite you to join me in helping somebody's modest classroom dream come through. Or go ahead and pick one of your own. Or if you know of a local need, help with that (some schools forbid teachers from using these kinds of sites, presumably because they are justifiably embarrassed that their teachers have to go begging).
This week I'm donating to a third grade classroom in Waukegan, IL. They'd like some actual physical books to read as a class while in distance learning mode. You can follow the link here.
Yes, Donors Change is not the systemic change we're looking for. But while we're still hoping and working for that change to come, it's a way to help. My wife's school has gone now to hybrid schooling, which is one more tremendous drag on her, and I have to sit here at the institute and feel largely helpless to make her work easier. I've been doing this for about a month and in these messy time, it has helped me feel as if I'm doing something concrete in the world. So if this platform can help some actual teachers do their jobs in these miserable times, I'm for that. You're invited to join in.