An early-morning side trip at CogDogBlog let me to discover DonorsChoose.org.
This site invites teachers to describe specific projects for which they need money, and allows donors to select such projects to donate to. Like these:
- A fourth-grade class whose students need more books in Spanish for fluent readers.
- A first-grade class needing insect specimens (and copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar).
- Rural high-school seniors whose teacher would like to use Hamlet — the Manga Edition (in which Horatio looks a bit like Harry Potter).
The Charity Navigator gives DonorsChoose a four-star rating. DonorsChoose claims to have enabled donors in 50 states to provide $23,338,925 to 1,351,770 students.
Lots of people talk about large-scale educational reform. In the short run, though, teachers in place struggle with the realities of the classroom and don’t have the liberty to wait for the New Digital Jerusalem.
The Hamlet request is far from the only Shakespearean one. There’s quite a bit of interest in No Fear Shakespeare. I’m biased; I taught high school English in rural Kansas. Thinking of these teachers reminded me of the other pre-battle speech (not the ‘band of brothers’ one) in Henry V, only with teachers instead of the English troops:
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There’s not a piece of feather in our host…
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim…
I thought it was worthwhile shining a bit more light on this corner of the world of learning.
If you’re so inclined, you can see both speeches in the clip below. (It’s just before the battle of Agincourt, where the English were outnumbered 5 or 6 to 1.) You’ll probably recognize the first speech; the “warriors for the working day” one begins around the three-minute mark.