Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, June 21, 2003
# 10:48:00 PM:

Stuff for students

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My wife teaches math to high-school kids at a public school in a rich West Side Vancouver neighbourhood. The school was completely rebuilt a couple of years ago (good thing—the old one was seismically unsafe), and has a hefty supply of high-quality learning materials, computers, overhead projectors, office supplies, and so on, not to mention desks in good repair, lovely big picture windows, and drinking fountains that dispense potable water.

Other places aren't so lucky. While Canadian public schools in low-income areas are often better off than their American counterparts, because of our more socialist school-tax system, many are still chronically short of such basics as pencils and textbooks. My wife's school has periodically set up small-scale donation systems for such supplies, to send them to a poorer school in the city.

On a larger scale, my wife just pointed out Donors Choose, a New York State charity Web site that lets teachers write proposals and donors fund them directly, by choosing those they think most worth supporting. She wrote:

Some schools have so little, like 2 overhead projectors for 20 teachers! At [my school], we each have our own overhead, TV, VCR, and computers up the ying-yang. I think we take it all for granted most days.

Marketplace IGA, a supermarket chain here in British Columbia, does something worthwhile with its points card system: on selected products (usually the IGA house brands), part of the proceeds go to help buy computers for local schools, and each customer can choose which school to send his or her portion to.


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