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Slafennog's picture

While reading Keenan I was struck by the dedication she showed to her students. Stating the importance of carving out that time every day for Morning Meeting, and putting so much time into creating a Wiki space, and trying to raise funding for computers.  I actually went and checked out her page on Donors Choose. ( on which she has completed 65 projects for her classroom, which include everything from Chrome Books to a cozy reading corner to white boards for the students.  On her page she has a small blurb stating "My classroom is an exciting, warm and welcoming place to learn. Everywhere you look in our classroom--from the portfolios we are making to remember the year to our beautiful carpet --you see something that Donor's Choose has made possible. Through the generosity of people like you, my classroom is filled with quality materials that my students deserve." While I am excited that she was able to fund her classroom through private donations, it leaves me very concerned about the teachers who are not so luck to receive these gifts as she did. While not all of her activates were based with online technology, most of them did require extra materials in order to complete. Stamps, ink, paper, puppets, trips to LEGOLAND; all of these things cost money (not to mention time). The Chicago school systems budget is like a lot of school budgets, struggling to allocate the funds needed in order to run a school system, and so without private funding the teachers are forced to pay out of pocket for pens, pencils, and paper for their classrooms. Asking teachers to spend that much time and money on their classroom is in my opinion unfair to the teacher, however if these things are not provided to the student then it is unfair to them.  So is private funding really the best answer to  this problem? I worry it may cause some school districts to look at teachers who don’t go above and beyond like Ms. Keenan did as failure, and as less of a teacher because she was unable to provide for her students like others are. Where is the line of asking a teacher to do so much, and does that not take her attention off of her students if she is forced to spend time worrying where she is going to get her supplies donated from instead of spending times with her students. This has already been seen as a problem in some schools where they actually relay on these programs (like box tops for education) in order to fund what they consider to be ‘extra’ programs. In my school our Newberry Book Club was funded through box tops for education, because our school could not afford to run additional classes for students who were advanced because all extra funding was sent to student who needed basic supports in the classroom (as was required by the state.)