Please help a local public school do what it does best

Dec 21, 2011 by

At their best, what did schools and teachers do for you?   When I ask people this question, they often say things like

  • They helped me find things I really enjoyed doing.
  • They helped me develop confidence in myself.
  • They helped me get through a troubled time.
  • They help me develop the skills, and acquire the knowledge that I needed to be an active, contributing citizen.
  • They helped me get into college or a trade school
  • They helped me feel that I mattered

How would you answer the question?  After you decide, I hope you’ll send me a brief, 1-3 sentence explanation with your answer  Then, I hope that you will send a check to a local public school to help them do for others, what a school or teacher did for you.

Please consider paying yourself, your community and young people, by making a year-end donation to a local public school, or whatever school you think is appropriate.

If you itemize deductions, you’re paying yourself.  That’s because donations to public schools are tax deductible (I should note in the interests of full disclosure that I am not a tax attorney or accountant.)  However, my experience over many years is that such donations can be deducted from your taxable income if you are itemizing deductions.


But a contribution to a school is valuable, even if it does not reduce your taxes.  That’s because you are sending a message to educators and to young people.  What’s the message?  You can decide that, in a brief note you send to the school.

By the way, I will be doing what I’m suggesting. I will be making a modest donation to a variety of schools around the country.  It’s a small thanks to the schools, for helping me share information over the last year.

Many of us are deluged by donation requests.  I won’t take up any more of your time today.  But I would ask you to consider what your finest teacher did with and for you.  And then, please help a local teacher or school do a bit better job.

Money does not solve all the problems.  But it can help provide opportunities.  A year-end donation to your local public school can help you, your community, and young people.

Joe Nathan, formerly a public school teacher and administrator, directs the Center for School Change at Macalester College.  Reactions welcome,

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