As someone who does research on school finance, particularly in California, I am all too aware that many of our public schools are seriously under-funded (I say 'many', not all, because there are also quite a few that are just fine, thanks to inequities in the way schools are financed, but that's a whole other discussion). While my research focuses on the systemic funding, I've always been most heart-broken by the stories about the impact on individual classrooms. We've all heard horror stories about teachers buying school supplies with their own money simply to make sure their students have basic items like paper and pencils. But even in situations where the school and students are relatively well-off, teachers will often reach into their own pockets in order to buy little things that can vastly improve their teaching - to use a simple example of my own, just last week I bought a bunch of candy to use for a classroom exercise on gains from trade and allocation of resources. This was not a huge expense for me but for public school teachers, such little things add up.
This is why organizations like DonorsChoose.org are so great. They create a way for people to donate to specific teachers for specific projects. You can donate any amount, you can search for schools in your local area or for classes in a particular subject. I am participating in their Blogger Challenge this month and encourage you to get involved as well! You can visit the Economics for Teachers giving page to donate to econ-specific projects, or search through hundreds of other projects. This is a great cause and a neat way to help teachers directly. Please check it out!
p.s. If any teachers (whether economics or anything else) want me to add your project to my giving page, just let me know! I'll be highlighting different projects in this over the coming weeks.
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