Crowd funding classrooms

(NBC News) On average teachers spend about $500 of their own money every year to buy supplies for their classrooms according to a report from the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

Now a new website has gotten the attention of more than a million people who’ve helped make learning a bit more fun for kids.

Teacher Micah Siegel is soliciting $220 in donations on the website DonorsChoose.org. He’s hoping to purchase privacy screens and noise-canceling headphones to help cut down on distractions and improve the concentration of his students.

“It allows them to focus on their own work, it prevent people from talking to them,” Siegel explains.

The website helps. Many schools can’t afford new equipment, field trips, or even basic supplies.

DonorsChoose.org lets you pick a project to support, or use your Zip Code to find schools near you that need help.

Nearly 1.7 million people have contributed, helping more than 14 million children learn.

Organizers buy materials and send it to the schools; they do not hand over cash.

They say 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the teachers and kids.

Donations are especially helpful for poor schools hit hard by the recession.

“One out of every five children sitting in a desk in public schools lives in poverty,” notes Kim Anderson of the National Education Association.

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