Monday, October 01, 2007

Ed-Op: Back To School

Thanks to the many of you who have left comments, and thanks also to Link for the little nudge. It's been ages since I posted, I know. Sometimes life shows you it's time to act, and other times there is time to reflect. I have been in action mode lately, although in my life there is usually little-to-not-enough time, period.

In the meanwhile, I would love to address some of the wonderful comments you all have left and clarify my pov. While I agree that teachers usually feel unsupported by their district not to mention their school, are paid ridiculously low wages, and many times end up going out of pocket for classroom supplies, I still maintain it should not be up to a merchandiser to tell unsuspecting parents, especially new and about-to-enter-the-system parents what they will need for the classroom. I would much rather receive a letter from either the principal or my child's teacher outlining EXACTLY what my child will need to bring to class in order to avoid buying unnecessary items which only serve to line the pockets of said merchandiser, not the school or the teachers who need it most. I would prefer to show my support to the class and the teacher directly.

If, looking back at our case, we actually followed the merchandiser's suggested list, we would have spent money on items she didn't need, couldn't bring to class, or were redundant to what was already being handed out in class. Frankly, I would have happily donated my $25-50 "supplies" money (or whatever that amount grows to in the upper grades) to a group fund that could buy in bulk for a discount all the items the class actually needed, including offering a little extra for those who might need an assist and having some funds set aside for unexpected teacher/class needs.

Additionally, if throughout the school year the teachers would organize their "wish lists" and circulate them through the school body, you'd be amazed at how resourceful people can be to obtain these items--through the community, businesses, corporate sponsors-- because I believe we all want what's best for our children and will help our child's teacher if notified and pressed to do so. But if you don't ask you don't get. And we can't give if we don't know.

I'm sorry so many teachers end up going out of pocket. That is unfair and a sign that things definitely need to change especially in the public school arena. But I also think there is a general disconnect and lack of specific communication between the school and parents, which might be a first step to getting assistance where assistance is needed. Of course the district is a whole other matter!

All I'm sayin' is let's spend our money on what we really need, not on what the stores tell us we need.


Anonymous said...

Go Mama! I was checking my referral sites and your came to the top for September....then I looked and you used my photo of my rhinestones in a martini glass on your blog. Just thought I would say hello...I know, I know....I'm not even commenting on this "bakc to School" post but I didn't know how else to contact you. Thanks for the referrals....

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Couldn't agree with you more!

Glad you're back, you were missed!

Eileen said...

I agree with you. At my school, each teacher has to send the parents a school supply list in August, it's included in the Welcome to My Class letter. We get so many donatations, boxes actually, from churches, companies and yes, even Walmart called me last year to pick up boxes of left over school supplies. This is probably not the norm, but it works well for us.
The Staples and other large chain stores, with the premade lists, take advantage of parents and children. It is wrong on so many levels. I think this is an excellent point and one we discuss at school, each September.
A side note, all those cute, expensive extra things, are usually a huge pain in the ass for teachers, as they are distracting, and can take the focus off learning. They usually end up banned or taken away pretty quickly. As for the huge organizers, they don't even fit in most lockers.
Marketing is a business that is aiming younger and younger, even the ones yet to be born. It is frustrating!

riversgrace said...

Hi there, my dear, so nice to see you doing your work. Thanks for being there. Love.