Ardachy, I regret to say it is all too common. Most of the school funding is based on the property tax base with some help from the local, state, or federal government (all of which are currently broke).
In fact, there is an online charity that has the support of people like Oprah and Stephen Colbert called DonorsChoose.org in which teachers list projects they would like to do with their classes and the amount of money it would take to fund the project. People can log in and contribute even a small amount towards the funding. Some of the projects fall into the "little bit extra" category that you can understand is not in the general budget of most schools or teachers. Some of them, though, are sad, like here in the Washington DC city schools where you see them asking for $ to buy paper so they can make photocopies of textbooks because four or five students share a book in class.
The political bickering on the subject of school funding is not as sexy as some of the other topics right now, but it is no more civil.
only for cities and rural areas. The suburbs tend to have enough money to educate their kids. Not always though. My knitting group makes things for a yearly sale to buy food for snacks for one local school, and books, snowsuits etc. We no longer have a saftey net over here. It's defnitely 'a wing and a prayer'. Sad, very sad.
I have enjoyed the conversation and insights, myself!
That's what made the catch so inspiring. I try to leave books where 10-15 year olds might run across them, and when those do happen, it's a better catch than any other. This was a wonderful catch, and our responses to it underline that.