This week the U.S. Senate approved Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, on a one-vote margin and over unprecedented opposition. DeVos is a billionaire heiress with no direct experience of public education, and was unable to answer basic questions about Federal education policy in her confirmation hearing, but she has spent millions lobbying for efforts to transfer public funding to for-profit charter schools and religious education.
So this seems like a good week to return to Donors Choose. The last time I proposed this as an Action Item, I pointed out that the U.S. K-12 education system has been horrifically unequal long before the arrival of Betsy DeVos, because most of our school funding comes from local property taxes. As Terry McGlynn noted this week on Twitter, it’s so routine for public school teachers to buy classroom supplies out of their own pocket that it’s a standard deduction item on income tax forms:
This is how much the US undervalues K-12 teachers: When we file taxes, we expect them to claim personal funds spent on teaching supplies.— Terry McGlynn (@hormiga) February 9, 2017
Donors Choose lets us help teachers save their none-too-generous paychecks by pitching in money for individual projects or classroom resources. You can easily search for biology-specific requests, or for schools in your own neighborhood, but here’s a few good options to get you started:
- Mr. Wortley, a high school teacher in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina wants to buy colored paper and poster board for biology class projects.
- Mrs. Luna, a high school teacher in Jurupa Valley, California, wants to do gel electrophoresis in the classroom.
- Mrs. Williams, a high school teacher in Houston, Texas, wants to buy dissection kits and equipment.
- Mrs. Gray, who teaches preK to grade 2 in San Marcos, California, wants to buy a butterfly rearing kit.
For bonus #resistance points, maybe add a memo to dedicate your donation to the new Secretary of Education.