This Week in the Classroom: K-12 Teachers Seeking Cash for Clunker-Free Instruction

09/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Department of Transportation (DoT) recently launched its Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), informally known as the Cash for Clunkers program. This program incents Americans across the country to trade in their gas guzzling vehicles for late-model, fuel efficient, finds by providing compensation for these trades. In the past week, 8,000 trades have been made, putting about $35 million into people's hands and facilitating thousands of new vehicle purchases.

The response to this program has been even greater than the Department of Transportation prepared for. The first day of the program, the DoT's website crashed due to the overwhelming demand for trades at dealerships nationwide. Over $35 million has been spent out so far, leaving $858 million dollars in CARS funding for car swappers between now and November. These swaps are subject to specific rules, so be sure to read up on the program before you drive to the dealer.

Due to the widespread reaction to the CARS program, it's easy to think that fuel economy is a new concern or one that Americans are just starting to care about. That's not the case -- at least not in public school classrooms!

At, over $70,000 in alternative energy materials have been delivered to public school teachers in the past 3 years to teach about energy and the fuel of the future. Even on summer break, over a dozen public school teachers have recently asked us for resources to teach about bio-diesel and alternative fuels.

As programs like CARS become more popular, we project requests like these to continue, especially from teachers at high-need schools. To check out what public school teachers are asking for to teach about bio-diesel, alternative energy, and the fuel of the future (or to learn what they're teaching about any topic you care about), visit

* * * is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and student thank-you letters.

Every dollar donated is given directly to the classroom in the form of materials or experiences that were requested by the teacher. The price of each project includes an 18% fulfillment fee covering the work performed by (screening projects, purchasing and delivering supplies, etc.) and donors are welcome to make an optional donation to cover these costs.