Recommended Donations are an Unfortunate Necessity

Suggested donations are important for students and teachers alike.

By Rohit Dilip

The first day of school brings new teachers, almost all of whom have their own unique syllabi. However, almost all syllabi inevitably contain the two boxes labelled “Yes, I would like to make a donation of X amount” and “I’m sorry, but I find myself unable to make a donation at this time.”

Because Irvington is a public school, teachers cannot mandate donations or treat students differently if they refuse to donate. Despite this, many teachers ask for a “recommended donation” during the course of the school year.

Although I dislike paying “donations” as much as anyone else, students need to chip in. Every year, schools lose thousands of dollars due to budget cuts. Science teachers are hit hard, largely due to the lab requirement in the curriculum. AP Biology teacher Ms. Anand stated, “As a whole, the science department gets about 2000 dollars, which all goes into copying. If I want all the students to have a full lab experience, I need to order three or four kits, which are $150-$200 each.”

The money the school allots per department often barely covers copying. Ms. Cook-Kallio, who teaches We The People and AP US History, stated, “In a real college class, students would own the books and be able to write in them, so making these copies is essential. The history department always runs out of money by the end of the year.”

From many students’ points of view, it seems wrong to even ask—students should not have to pay for an education. Teachers, however, must complete a vast curriculum on limited funding until such a time as the state allots more money towards education. The view that teachers are asking for money without reason is wrong.

Whether we appreciate it or not, the money that we put into our classes comes back to help us. Students that cannot financially afford to donate should have no obligation to do so. For the rest of us, however, why not? Ten dollars will not financially crush us, but it could help our classrooms.

At the same time, teachers should limit their requests. A request for thirty or forty dollars will alienate students willing to donate less.

Yes, I cringe whenever I realize the amount my teachers ask for. No, I’m not exactly thrilled whenever the teacher brings up the topic of donations. But it’s important for students to understand the necessity of doing so. When we donate, we make an investment towards a better school year. That, in my opinion, is well worth paying.

PC – Rohit Dilip

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry Donation Request Form