Monday, August 04, 2008

School Funding

So last night I printed out Joey's school list and hopped over to the local Wal-mart to get Joey's supplies for the year. He needs to provide his own glue, pencils, scissors, dry erase markers, dry erase eraser, notebooks, folders, crayons, soap, ziplock bags, highlighters, tissues, paper towels, wipes, and sanitizer. This weekend was tax-free weekend here, so we also bought shoes, underwear, and socks.

The school list for Joey alone was $45, and only because Walmart does cool stuff like sell glue for $.22. Normally, these supplies would be two or three times what I paid, plus tax.

When I was in school, I think my mom bought loose-leaf paper, a binder, and pencils. Oh, and I needed a lot of erasers. Things like scissors, chalk (we didn't have dry-erase), crayons, paper towels, and soap were provided by the school. Funding for schools has been so devalued that these things now are provided by the students. I always toss in some extra, because I know several families in our classes can't afford $45 for school supplies. There are also some things not on the list that I put in, because I know they are used, like magic markers and construction paper. Teachers shouldn't be having to buy these things. But then, I don't think I should have to, either. I kinda feel like because I buy these things, the schools get less funding- because why should the general taxpayer pay for what individual families will provide?

We get stuck with that sword with therapy, too. Joey needs OT and speech to progress. The school offers minimal amounts of these services, so we supplement, paying for private therapy ourselves. Because we provide the private therapy, Joey progresses, so the school will not give us any more service. Instead of helping the school provide adequate service, I feel like I am enabling an irresponsible teenager.

1 comment:

kiribako said...

This is one of those things that predictably gets me excited:

We have this weird paradox in America - call it individualism, maybe - where it isn't cool for people to pool their resources.

Except in business. If multinational companies want to demand the lowest possible price on shirts sewn in Haiti, call centers in India, or shoes made in Indonesia, that's okay. But if two or more people want to cobble together enough consumer demand to save money on some product or service it's shocking. Labor unions and Co-ops are somehow un-American.

Clearly a school system could get a better price on school supplies as a bulk-purchasing agent of the community it serves, but that would hurt the bottom line of some profit driven entity, so it must be stopped.

Have you noticed that your local school district is unable to grow its constituency to the size of Microsoft's or Nike's customer base?

While I'm not saying that would be the solution to all our problems, it might be nice if the school system could at least harness the time every parent spends shopping for supplies for one student and use it for something more efficient and effective.