In the wake of the recent U.S. election, we at *The Molecular Ecologist wanted to better use the site to help organize our community’s support for scientific inquiry and science education under an administration that may be quite unfriendly to them. One small thing we thought we could do is highlight “action items” every week. Look for these “Friday Action Item” posts for ideas about specific things you can do to support science — from calling Congress to helping crowd-fund a cool new research project. Got a suggestion for a future Action Item? E-mail and tell us all about it!*
Public school classrooms are the point of entry into science for the vast majority of children in the United States, yet public schools are dramatically variable in the resources they have to offer. This is in large part because nationwide, public education is supported by local property taxes, which converts economic inequality into inequality of opportunity. One small way to help fix this is provided by Donors Choose, a kind of Kickstarter for classroom supplies. The Donors Choose website lets K-12 teachers propose projects, activities, or supply purchases with set budgets, and lets donors choose which to support — you can search proposals by subject matter, grade level, supply type, geography, and economic need. Here’s a few examples that are particularly apt for molecular ecologists:
- Ms. Zitzler, a 5th-grade teacher in Phoenix, wants to take her students on a field trip to study pond ecology.
- Ms. Trosclair, a 1st-grade teacher in Fayette, Mississippi, wants to fund live insect exhibits for her classroom.
- Teacher Nass-Fukai at Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, wants equipment to study plant cloning and tissue culturing
Many of the proposed project budgets are heartbreakingly modest, and some have donation matching offers from Donors Choose sponsors — a donation of $20 can make a big difference. So that’s your Action Item this week: help fund science education at the earliest stage.