Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Gifts for Teachers

James Lang, a columnist for the Chronicle of Higher Education, makes some practical suggestions for helping out teachers in our cash-strapped public schools.

The fact that most urban schools are underfunded and poorly equipped is no secret:

You may think back fondly on your days as a kindergartner, and remember a wonderland of crayons and markers, coloring pages, paste and scissors, and myriad supplies for arts-and-craft projects. My wife's students will never know such bounty. She was forced to spend most of her supply budget on copy paper--not that she ever gets to copy much on those blank sheets of paper, since the photocopy machines are perpetually breaking down.
While the best solution, suggests Lang, is to address the broader issues of why schools are not being properly funded in the first place, he also shows how we can give school teachers a hand while we fight the long term battles that will ultimately increase funding for public schools.

Last year, as the holiday season approached, a colleague and friend of our family asked my wife what sort of school supplies she needed for her classroom. My wife rattled off a list. Before my colleague left for her holiday break, she and her husband filled up a laundry basket with school supplies and delivered it to my wife just before Christmas. That basket of gifts made a substantial contribution to my wife's students in the weeks and months following the winter break. My colleague didn't spend a fortune. Glue sticks, scissors, crayons and markers, paper, cleaning supplies -- for $20, $30, or $50 you can easily fill up shopping bags with much-needed supplies for struggling schools.
Imagine what a difference we might make if each of our churches were to "adopt" a nearby public school and take the inititiative to help out in this way.

Click here for the rest of the article.

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