Friday, October 02, 2009
Help astronomers support public education in science
When my daughter started school, I was shocked to learn how dismal the funding levels for public education truly are in much of the country. Every year, teachers send home wish lists asking for donations of supplies for their classrooms; if these items are not donated, the teacher has to pay for them out of her already meager salary. And we're not talking about "luxuries" like computers and other technology, we're talking absolute basics: pens, pencils, paper, even Kleenex. What kind of country is this where we have to ask teachers to buy Kleenex for their students?? It makes me livid every time I think about it. And, with the current bad economy, classrooms are being squeezed even more than normal.
Anyway, the folks over at the Cosmic Variance blog (another astronomy and physics-related blog run by some darn good scientists) are participating in a friendly fundraising competition run by DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose allows people to donate money directly to individual classroom projects in public schools in the United States. Basically a teacher proposes an activity, asks for the money she/he needs to do the activity, and you get to choose which activity you want to help fund. Since they're all scientists, the Cosmic Variance folks have identified several science-related projects, and are trying to raise more money for these projects than other teams.
In short, you can directly further American science (and/or non-science-related) education by donating as little as $5, and also help a small band of astronomers win a friendly competition. To donate money for the Cosmic Variance team effort, click here. To read more about DonorsChoose, to start your own team, or to choose non-science related projects to donate to, look here. And, lastly, encourage people you know to give what they can.