ScienceBlogs readers donated $54,335 for 155 classroom projects. With $15,000 in matching funds from Seed Media Group, that means our readers put $69,335 toward U.S. science literacy.
That $15,000 from Seed Media Group fully funded 33 more projects and gave a chunk of money to a 34th. But my most recent calculation shows that a total of $72,920 went to the 20 challenges mounted by ScienceBlogs bloggers — which means that an additional $3,585 was given to these challenges after the drive ended.
In other words, some of you just can’t help being generous, even when no one is dangling incentives in front of you. Thank you!
It’s worth noting, though, the fact that we made it through a month-long drive with such aplomb does not mean that all the teachers who submitted project proposals to DonorsChoose got the funding they need to deliver the kind of learning experiences they think their students deserve. There are still thousands of projects waiting to be funded, and thousands of teachers struggling to deliver high quality education with inadequate resources. And these are just the teachers who know about DonorsChoose. Undoubtedly there are many more who don’t, trying to figure out how to teach without current textbooks, unbroken chalkboards, or paper and pencils for their students.
We’re feeling warm and fuzzy about the good work DonorsChoose does, and how it can broaden people’s notion of the community of children they care about (not just in our town, but all over the country) …
… but, there’s this persistent voice in my head saying, “Really, as a society, we ought to be funding all the schools adequately, if not lavishly. In a civilized country, DonorsChoose would go out of business!”
The way to make that happen, it seems to me, is to see that education funding is an actual priority — that we make sure the school have the money they need before we go funding the rest of the stuff on the list. And we need to make our voices heard with the folks who control funding for education to make this happen.
In the U.S., this means your state’s governor and your representatives in the state legislature. (The reason that education funding is decided largely at the state level is that, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the U.S. Supreme Court found that there was no fundamental right to education under the Constitution.)
Write them letters to tell them that adequate funding for education is your priority — and that you vote. Remind them that the kids in your state are the future workforce in your state, the ones who will be providing health care, law enforcement, education, and whose brains will be engaged in the innovations that will make your state competitive.
Failing to invest in educating the kids in your state — all the kids in your state — is failing to understand how funding now yields future returns. A well-educated society costs a heck of a lot less than a poorly educated society. Even if it didn’t, deciding to leave some kids without adequate education because it will save some money is a morally problematic call, putting an unfair burden on the people in our society least able to look out for their own interests.
Write some letters. Keep at it till you get some real responses. If the people who depend on our votes for their jobs get the message that education really matters to the voters, we get closer to a world where every kid gets the education he or she deserves.