Teachers have an unlimited supply of interesting ideas for classroom projects, but have often been limited to the resources they could afford to contribute from their own pocketbooks.
Seven years ago, a history teacher in the Bronx started a Web site that directly connected teachers and donors to fund classroom projects. This week DonorsChoose announced that its program has expanded to include every public school in America.
This "open source" approach to supporting public schools encourages teachers to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Their proposals compete in the marketplace of ideas to attract support. Everyday citizens are invited to become philanthropists who can make a big difference by pooling their contributions, from $10 on up.
As a donor, I found that my experience on DonorsChoose channels reminded me of the thrill of an eBay purchase. But instead of making an impulse buy for something that I didn't really need, I was making a contribution to a worthy cause. In return, my family has received wonderful thank-you packets from teachers and students that include letters and photos of the projects we funded. … Read more