Thursday, July 22, 2010

DonorsChoose Stabs Teachers in the Back

UPDATE: If you want to boycott DonorsChoose after reading this post, just click here.

So you get a crappy $150 in Teacher's Choice every year, which will most likely be eliminated entirely this coming school year. seems like a good solution. You join up, tell donors what you need, and hopefully good hearted citizens will contribute to help support your classroom projects. Sounds like a great idea, right? And it was.

Until the ed deformers ruined it, that is. I was shocked to receive an email from DonorsChoose asking me to see the anti-teacher, anti-union film Waiting for Superman. If I pledge to see it, the email said, DonorsChoose will get some money to support more classroom projects. Never mind that if the film makers get their way, you most likely won't have a classroom or a job, so your need for project funding will be drastically reduced.

Here's a quote from the email: This fall is poised to receive support from hundreds of thousands of movie-goers who see Waiting for "Superman," a new film from the director of An Inconvenient Truth. Just as An Inconvenient Truth inspired action on climate change, Waiting for "Superman" aims to inspire the nation to improve public education opportunities.

Uh, yeah. More like "Just as the actors in The Devil In Miss Jones did to each other, Waiting for Superman is trying to do to teachers."

I canceled my account there today, and I urge you to do the same. Let them know why you decided to cancel and why. Tell them they need to support teachers, not help villify them. Contact them at


Esteban Rodriguez said...

Thanks for the heads up.

I put this up at and democratic underground. said...

Hi Mr. Talk -

Thanks for sharing your concerns. We view this as an opportunity to generate a nationwide discussion about public education in America. We also hope to use it as a chance to garner much wider support for the teachers who use our website. teachers are the best our country has - and we'll continue working hard to earn them as much support as we can.

We're sorry to hear you've closed your account, please use the contact form and refer to this blog post if you'd like to discuss the matter further; we'd be happy to speak with you.



NYC Educator said...

I've also linked to this. The above comment is remarkable. After demonstrating no understanding whatsoever of the post, this person claims, offering no rationale whatsoever, that their affiliated teachers are the best the country has--thus making an invidious comparison with the overwhelming majority of working teachers in these United States.

No wonder these folks are so easily bought by propagandists.

Mr. Dugong said...

This is not the first time DC has left comments on dissenting blog posts. (

CarolineSF said...

Doesn't it seem like Donors Choose made this stupid move out of ignorance? As my teens would put it: PR FAIL! Time to back out and do damage control, Donors Choose. You win points by admitting you blew it and trying to make amends. And next time do your homework first.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear from an unbiased educator who has seen the film. Could it be that the film illustrates how the system in place could benefit from some of what charter schools are free to do? Could it show that we have great teachers in place who are limited by their environs? We could have less good teachers leaving the profession, and ones who've toughed it out the space to really bloom. I'm an out of work school counselor - no money for the "frills" at public schools, I feel the pain of the current system and will not automatically criticize those who are trying to generate discussion and change. To avoid censorship, I will seek out those who have viewed it, see what they have to say, maybe see it and THEN pledge to see it if I feel it's worthy. Even if the film does turn out to be anti-teachers unions, etc, at least I'll know what it contains and can fully criticize it.
(I'll post anonymous because I don't want to take time to set up account,need to get back to job search - suffice it to say, "Out of Work Counselor in Milwaukee Area")

CarolineSF said...

Anonymous, there is no such thing as an "unbiased" person. And it is not censorship to criticize the film.

I have repeatedly challenged charter school insiders and advocates to name any innovations ever pioneered in a charter school because of what they are supposedly "free to do." Still waiting for even ONE response. The notion that charter schools are pioneering innovations because they are supposedly "free" to do that is hype and BS.

Ari F said...

How many of the people commenting on this have even seen "Waiting for 'Superman'"? The film hasn't come out yet, so the only people who've seen it are those that have gone to pre-release screenings, generally meant for those who are supporters of the accountability movement (TFAers, charter school advocates, etc). I have a review of the movie on my blog:
Obviously, I have a different perspective than many of you might have, but at least you can get an idea of what the film's about.
BTW, I find it ridiculous that people who consider themselves good educators are against accountability. If you do a good job, not only will you keep your job, you won't have to worry about other teachers being bad influences on your students.

Anonymous said...

Ari regarding your statement: "I find it ridiculous that people who consider themselves good educators are against accountability"
Good educators are for accountability, but they object to the methodology used.
Test scores may not be valid, principals may not be qualified etc..

Anonymous said...

A number of SF teachers went to a local screening to see for ourselves. The movie was definitely pro-charter and anti-union.It continues the "bad teacher narrative" and side-steps the structural problems and chronic underfunding of our public schools. What do you think teachers and teacher unions should do in response to this movie?

Steven S. Martin said...

I understand how hard it is to create a level of accountability in education. Some students don't test well, and are brilliant in class, and some principals are interested solely in teaching to tests to make the kids seem intelligent, but lack depth in their abilities. However, just like any other job it is not impossible to have accountability and proper job reviews by observation of the person at work. However, unions make these reviews almost impossible. I understand that teachers are attached to the unions because they help guarantee a higher level of pay, but at what cost. We SHOULD want to pay teachers more just by virtue of the job they are doing. As a former English teacher in South Korea I saw what happens when teachers are given the pay they deserve, the children receive a great education. If we pay more then we can choose the teachers who do the best work.

Anonymous said...

We cannot blame those people feeling educators, but the truth they're not. Believe me they have their own standard like us custom essay writing service .

Anonymous said... sure screwed me over.

I originally posted a need of $1000 for supplies for a dance class.

At 1st things looked like they were going great! Right from the get go I was selected to have anonymous grant sponsor me half the cost, now only $500 left.

My parents chipped in $200. And I figured I was almost there. Then things got ugly.

Since no one else sponsored me. I fist lost the $500 contribution. On top of that after it expired my parents did not get refunded the money, but were forced to spend the money on the site. (they could of course still contribute to me, but I had to resubmit)

So I "reposted" my need with only $200. On top of that the organization charges $30 for Labor and Materials (not sure why....) and you can only order items that are amazon prime (which made it impossible to find the right items to order or at a reasonable price.

So yeah, basically as the old saying is, if it seems to good to be true.. well ... that

In other words don't waste your time, or your friends or families money. (who needs a middle man anyways for fundraising).

Richard C. Lambert said...

Glad you are back to blogging! So wonderful to hear you are feeling better...I love keeping up with you through FB and your caringbridge site!

Unknown said...

Donors Choose has been the worst experience I have ever had with such a large company Their customer service is absolutely negligent and absent. You will notice there is no phone number listed and when you finally do find a number, you are sent in circles and eventually disconnected.
While I was THRILLED to raise money for my classroom from the kindness of my friends and family, not only did Donors Choose take their very expensive cut of the money (which they say you have option to opt out of but that never happened) but I had numerous issues with deliveries. Furthermore, I was over funded and very sad to find I could not use the money for the same project, yet had to go through the hassle and wait to post another project to be approved. They consistently send me back errors to fix and when I do so, in a timely matter, their page crashes.
For over three months, my experience with DC has been a nightmare and I have sent messages and left voicemails to no success.
I am appalled by this company and have already been sure to recommend GoFundMe to colleagues and avoid the disaster of DC.
Shame on you Donors Choose.

Owlish said...

I'm sorry some (OK, most) of the posters here have had trouble with Donors Choose. I may be seeing a different side of the operation, as I am a donor, not a teacher. I am (in most cases) supporting local schools - schools that I attended in the 60s, and schools that I am visiting and volunteering with, so I get to talk with the teachers, usually one-on-one. So far, over more than a dozen funded projects, every teacher has been very pleased with the results and their interactions with Donors Choose, as I have been as well.

Donors Choose, like everything else created or operated by people, is not perfect, and could be better and/or clearer in the details of how it works. But as a person who has run a business, their charges are IMO not totally unreasonable, and I do know for a fact that the 'opt out' option can and does work. I can speak only of my experiences and those communicated to me by the teachers involved, but DC has high marks in my books and I am glad to continue to be involved.

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