Help the SB gang help schools.

Janet over at Adventures in Ethics and Science has gotten a bunch of us SB folks to get involved in raising money for school science programs. As the only current resident math geek around here, I’m expanding it from just science to also math.
What we’re doing is trying to get people to donate to That’s an organization where teachers who’s classrooms lack the supplies that they need can submit proposals, and donors can select specific proposals that they want to support. Each of the participants from SBs has picked a bunch of proposals that we think are valuable, and we’re asking you guys, our readers, to look at those proposals, and donate some money to whichever ones you think are worth supporting.
This is something that is very near and dear to my heart. Back in my college days, I did some teaching for something called the Educational Opportunity Fund in NJ. EOF is now gone due to budget cuts. But back then, the idea of it was, take a bunch of really smart kids from really bad schools, and bring them to Rutgers for the summer. For the summer, they worked two days a week, and took classes three days a week. During the school year, they also had to go to EOF classes every weekend. If they continued to participate in this all the way through high school, then EOF would give them a scholarship to Rutgers. I taught for the EOF summer program for three years. And I got to know some of the smartest, greatest kids you could ever hope to meet.
One of the things about working for EOF that used to depress me was talking to my kids about their normal schools. They went to schools where there weren’t enough textbooks – or often any textbooks – much less any better school supplies. If it wasn’t for EOF, most of these kids would never have had any chance to get to college: not because they weren’t smart enough, and not because they weren’t willing to work hard enough; and not even because the teachers in their schools weren’t good enough to prepare them for college. They would have had no chance simply because in a classroom with no books, with no paper, with no chalk – there’s no way to teach them.
My daughter started kindergarten this year. Her kindergarten classroom – just one kindergarten classroom for 20 kids – has more supplies for teaching math than the entire schools that my EOF kids went to.
It’s a god damned crime. Every school should have textbooks, blackboards, and the basic teaching materials that teachers need. Kids like the ones I taught in EOF are getting screwed over every day by schools that simply do not have the materials that they need to teach them.
So, I’ve gone through the proposals for math classes in the NYC area, and selected a big list of proposals, ranging over pretty much every grade level. They’re mostly small proposals for basic supplies that every math class should have.
Our wonderful Seed overlords have donated a bunch of goodies, as have a variety of other organizations drafted by SBers. If you want to donate some money to any of the things proposed by any of the SBers, send a copy of your contribution confirmation email to, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to get one of those.
Go throw a few bucks at donorschoose. The GM/BM challenge is here. You can find all of the SB challenges through Janet’s post here.
I’ll be throwing in a couple of hundred dollars worth of pledges this afternoon. Why not help, and go over now and give them some money?

0 thoughts on “Help the SB gang help schools.

  1. Flex

    I threw some money at the probablity study you selected. One of my biggest pet-peeves in my co-workers (and they are engineers) is their lack of understanding of statistics. Understanding propability is fundamental to understanding statistics, so getting students used to probablity may lead to a small increase in the understanding of statistics.
    I can dream, can’t I.
    I’ve heard about this program for a couple years, but have never made the effort to seek it out and contribute. Thank Janet and the rest of the ScienceBloggers for making it easy for me to do this. It wouldn’t hurt to make this an annual thing. Not to convert scienceblogs into a fundraising effort, but to remind those of us who are lazy to contribute.

  2. rpsms

    Were you @ camden rutgers? If yes, are you still in the phila area? My wife does non-profit work in camden, mostly involving neighborhood groups, but they origanise volunteers for some of the schools.

  3. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    No, I was at New Brunswick, Rutgers College. EOF was hosted on Cook campus.
    These days, I live just north of NYC in Westchester county, in a town called Dobbs Ferry. (But my kids go to Ardsley schools, not Dobbs, which is pure luck. Ardsley schools are much better than Dobbs (not that Dobbs schools are bad); but when we bought the house, the realtor told us it was dobbs ferry schools.)

  4. secondclass

    What an awesome program. If I could find something like that in my area, I would love to be a volunteer teacher.
    I wonder if something like the One Laptop per Child program could be implemented in districts that are hurting for textbooks, so kids could work with electronic texts that are either free or cheaply site-licensed.


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