School & District Management

Teachers Are Fired Up About District Bans on DonorsChoose

By Sasha Jones — March 20, 2019 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

By Guest Blogger Sasha Jones

Some districts have banned teachers from using DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding site that helps raise money for instructional materials and other classroom needs, Education Week reported earlier this week. That news has drawn a wave of reactions from teachers, administrators, and other readers.

Districts say it can be hard to monitor whether the donated materials align with district standards, and cite concerns that the decentralized process makes it difficult to track how money is distributed among schools.

Still, many districts encourage teachers to use such sites as a way to supplement school resources without having to dip into their own wallets. According to the nonprofit, 81 percent of schools in the U.S. have at least one teacher who has listed a project on DonorsChoose.

The ban comes at a time when teachers around the country are rallying and striking to call for higher salaries and increased education funding. Many readers said they rely on DonorsChoose to make up for what their district can’t provide.

Many readers indicated that their own districts have also banned the website, or placed additional restrictions on teachers who use the service.

Some said it’s wrong that districts can put the burden on teachers to fundraise rather than providing them with materials.

Readers were also furious at the insinuation that teachers might be pocketing the money, even though only the purchased materials are sent, not the donated funds.

“That is beyond ridiculous. Thanks for slapping the face of every public school teacher in the country. Apparently there is not enough to do at the district level other than think of ways teachers may be plotting their own gain.” -Elementary T.

Several people argued that administrators ban these sites simply because they don’t want the public perception that the district is underfunded.

“My guess is that the real concern is that administrators do not like advertising that they cannot adequately fund education. I have yet to see an administration ban teachers spending their own money on a classroom.” -lizteacher

And some administrators argued that teachers could actually get more funding from their districts if they asked for it.

“Districts certainly do not like the perception that they are not supporting the needs of classroom teachers but there are two sides to this story. One example, there was a teacher in our district who sent in a request to put something on DonorsChoose. Before approving the request, we asked the teacher if she had checked with her Principal or the district office to see if they could provide the resources she needed. The teacher had not done this and within an hour we had identified available resources and ordered the materials the teacher wanted. Communication is an important part of this process and that should not be overlooked. I can only speak for our district but we want to do everything possible to support our teachers. We can only do so if we are aware of their needs and desires.” -emurray0113

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Some Teachers Won't Get Vaccinated, Even With a Mandate. What Should Schools Do About It?
Vaccine requirements for teachers are gaining traction, but the logistics of upholding them are complicated.
9 min read
Illustration of a vaccine, medical equipment, a clock and a calendar with a date marked in red.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management A Vaccine for Kids Is Coming. 6 Tips for Administering the Shot in Your School
Start planning now, get help, and build enthusiasm. It's harder than it looks.
11 min read
Cole Rodriguez, a 15-year-old student at Topeka West, gets a COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Aug. 9, 2021 at Topeka High School's vaccine clinic.
Cole Rodriguez, a 15-year-old student, gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Topeka High School's vaccine clinic.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP
School & District Management Letter to the Editor School Mask Mandates: Pandemic, ‘Panicdemic,’ or Personal?
"A pandemic is based on facts. A 'panicdemic' is based on fears. Today, we have both," writes a professor.
1 min read
School & District Management How 'Vaccine Discrimination' Laws Make It Harder for Schools to Limit COVID Spread
In Montana and Ohio, the unvaccinated are a protected class, making it tough to track and contain outbreaks, school leaders say.
4 min read
Principal and District Superintendent Bonnie Lower takes the temperature of a student at Willow Creek School as the school reopened, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Willow Creek, Mont.
Bonnie Lower, a principal and district superintendent in Willow Creek, Mont., checks the temperature of a student as Willow Creek School reopened for in-person instruction in the spring.
Ryan Berry/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP