Eating Away at the Debt

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School bake sales usually aim at raising money for band uniforms and school trips.

But the students in Debbie Sisco's special-education class had a bigger goal in sight: reducing the national debt.

To address the problem, the students, at Coleman Elementary School in St. Joseph, Mo., formed CAN-D, Children Against the National Debt. As their first endeavor last month, they sponsored a bake sale, which raised $230.23 toward retiring the national indebtedness.

The eight students sold cupcakes for a quarter, doughnuts for a dime, and brownies for 35 cents. The proceeds went directly into a check to the U.S. Treasury, earmarked for the debt.

The bake sale also incorporated a lesson on the debt and government spending, Ms. Sisco says. And while her charges understandably have a little trouble comprehending a figure like $3 trillion, Ms. Sisco says she is trying to convey to them that they have a voice in their government.

The students wrote letters to area media outlets to publicize the event, and Ms. Sisco called the White House and two national radio talk shows.

One radio listener in Lambertsville, N.J., requested a cupcake. The class sent him one in a box for a quarter.

Ms. Sisco also wrote to Rep. Pat Danner, D-Mo., who in turn got in touch with President Clinton to tell him about the students' efforts. Mr. Clinton faxed a letter commending the students and calling their donation "a fine example of how young people can get involved with our government.''

CAN-D is now challenging students nationwide to come up with ways to be active in reducing the national debt.--R.J.

Vol. 12, Issue 25

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