info 10.12.10

Help NYC Schools
Every Person in New York

Waiting for Superman, the affecting new documentary by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) about the downward spiral of the American education system, may leave you with more questions than answers.

The film has puzzling omissions (teachers, for one) and Guggenheim uses techniques which may distract from the issue at hand (was the film crew really there at just the moment of a crucial phone call with surprising good news?).

Still, the movie is on the side of the angels, who take the form of some incredibly dear kids forced to confront the country's failure to guarantee them a decent public school education. Getting books into classrooms is hardly a cure for the problem, but it can make a big difference in the lives of our city's kids. It's something we at MUG feel strongly about and know many of you do, too.

So, once again, we're featuring the needs of one NYC classroom. Today's goal: $955. Here's the request from the teacher, Ms. B:

Foster Independent Reading
Remember all those fun books you didn't get to read in school, but were really the stories that captured your interest and inspired your love of reading? Those are the sort of books my students are in need of, and the experience that goes with them.

I teach 9th grade students in a public high school. The school is a Title 1 school, with almost all the students receiving free lunch and breakfast. Many students have not developed an interest in reading for pleasure when they walk through the door in September. Fostering independent reading is one of my main goals as a teacher. Unfortunately, my classroom library is sadly out of date.

Adding current, readable, high interest literature to my classroom library is necessary in order for students to even pick something up off the shelf and consider it. In addition, a major component of independent reading time in class is the classical music that plays in the background. New speakers are desperately needed for this. And bean bag chairs may seem like a luxury, but they do wonders toward inspiring a teenager to sit down and read.

My students need all the support they can get. I believe improving reading skills comes not only from studying class literature, but from reading what one is simply entertained by. Fostering reading will help my students in every subject area, and help them better prepare for college.


Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

East Williamsburg (from 2008)

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