According to The Associated Press, Stephen Colbert surprised teachers in his native South Carolina recently by announcing that he would fund every single classroom project listed by teachers from the state on the crowdfunding website DonorsChoose.org.
It is a gift valued in excess of $800,000.
According to avclub.com, funds for the donation will come from the sale of The Colbert Report’s desk and fireplace, which were raffled off online late last year. Matching funds will come from ScanSource and The Morgridge Family Foundation’s Share Fair Nation.
Colbert, who is a member of the DonorsChoose.org board, made the announcement on a live video feed to the students of Alexander Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina on May 7th.
According to Think Progress, “Legislation proposed last month by three members of the South Carolina legislature would require public school teachers in the state to spend three weeks each year talking about the virtues of the Second Amendment — as that amendment is understood by the National Rifle Association.
“The bill requires all South Carolina public schools to ‘provide instruction in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution for at least three consecutive weeks during one grading period in each academic year.’ Moreover, ‘the State Superintendent of Education shall adopt a curriculum developed or recommended by the National Rifle Association or its successor organization'”
Huntsville City Schools in Huntville, Alabama, seemed to be so concerned about what students were posting on their social media accounts that they paid a former Fed $157,190 a year (or $110 an hour) to spy on the students’ Instagram and Twitter accounts.
According to Alabama.com, the Huntsville City Schools paid the former agent, Chris McRae, to monitor its students over the past year through a program called SAFe, Students Against Fear. Six hundred of those students were flagged by students and teachers. McRae then examined their online accounts for “for images of guns or gang signs.” They also looked for evidence of drug use and mentions of sex. This led to the expulsion of 14 students.
Beyond a blatant attack on student privacy, critics are also saying that there was a racially motivated undercurrent to the expulsions through the spy program and throughout the system.
According to Huntsville City Schools records, the school expelled 305 students last year, 238 of whom were Black. So 78 percent of all expulsions involved Black children in a school system where they make up just 40 percent of students. And the of the 14 expulsions related to social media, 86 percent involved Black students.
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Prize. She also just won money for her human rights advocacy, and she’s giving it all away to help children in Gaza rebuild their schools.
Wikipedia states: “On the afternoon of 9 October 2012, Yousafzai boarded her school bus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat. A gunman asked for her by name, then pointed a pistol at her and fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of Yousafzai’s forehead, travelled under her skin through the length of her face, and then went into her shoulder.
“In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation.”
Anyone who has been following her story knows that this sort of display of compassion is no surprise.