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An idea for Gentle Readers and their money

Your Humble Blogger has been reading Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes over at ArtsJournal, because, well, I'm interested in Modern Art, and he’s an interesting writer. And if two-thirds of the notes aren’t actually all that interesting, then it doesn’t take that much time to scan them and move on. Mr. Green sometimes talks about artists I don’t much care about, but sometimes I do care about them after he’s talked about them, which is pretty good, if you ask me.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is that Mr. Green has been doing two weeks of DonorsChoose. I had been unfamiliar with DonorsChoose, but it's clearly a wonderful thing. It's a sort of microphilanthropy aimed at education. Teachers (or administrators, or parent-teacher organizations, I suppose) can list a project that they need some money for, say a couple of hundred dollars for some art supplies, or a thousand dollars for an LCD projector, or a few hundred for a set of reference books. And then you, Gentle Reader, can drop a twenty on one of them. Or a fifty. Or a five. You can pick a school in your hometown, or even better, a school in the nearby town that has real problems. Or you can pick a project you like, some sort of thing you happen to be keen on. Math? Reading? Music? Knock yourself out.

It’s not the Untied Way. But like the Untied Way, it addresses only short-term needs. It doesn't do a damn’ thing about the structural problems, or about the future of education, or about the future of the country. What it does, it helps a few teachers and a few kids, and a few parents, too, I suppose. Yes, I would prefer that we address the thing systematically. Yes, the idea of public schools includes the idea of public funding. So don’t think that being a Donor who Chooses relieves you of the obligation (in a democratic society) from talking and voting and working to create a culture and a community that doesn’t need DonorsChoose. Or the Untied Way. Or food banks. But neither does doing that good democratic stuff relieve you of the obligation to help teach children, to feed the hungry, to keep people from having to give birth in a barn.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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