Thursday, September 20, 2012

curmudgeonly: quality education as a constitutional right

not a fan of the pop bottle parade.  though cecily's masquerade ball dancers turned out kinda cute after all.
julie, i get so crabby about school fundraisers!

maybe it's because i've been doing the silent auctions, the spaghetti dinners, the school carnivals for way, way too long.  maybe it's because i hated elementary school and felt shy and awkward there as a child.  and traumatized.  and i hate it still.

tomorrow is my kids' fall festival, and the only upside is how much they love it.  otherwise, for me, it's the worst.  just for starters, they replaced the cake walk, where kids decorated cakes for the carnival, with decorated pop bottles.  this hearkens back a few years to when the state banned homemade food in the schools, only allowing packaged, commercially prepared foods at school events.  i.e. high fructose corn syrup in plastic.  i despise soda for so many reasons, not the least of which is the hideous aesthetic properties of the pop bottle parade.

(my older kids staged a protest that year just outside the bounds of the school fair and handed out buttons reading "let them eat cake" and asked people to sign a cutely worded petition about bringing back the cake walk.  it was a beautifully enacted civil protest until the pta president swore at them and the school custodian kicked their siblings out of the carnival.  we specialize in pissing people off around here.)

and here's more material for my worst mother of the year nomination:  i also despise volunteering at my kids' schools, or setting foot in them at all.  hate it.  loathe it.  it makes me anxious, sweaty, and depressed.  i'll save the psychoanalysis of why for some other time.

what i really want to bitch about is school fundraisers, and just pose a few questions:

1)  why does it make sense to spend hours getting donations from local businesses, hours setting up tables, auctioning systems, collecting and cashing checks and tabulating sales?  this seems like the most inefficient way possible to raise money.

2) why are we burdening the "stay at home parents (mostly moms)" with all this extra work?  or worse, the moms with part-time, flexible, or full-time jobs with this extra work?

3) why is it fair that some public schools can raise 200K at their school fair, and some can't muster the resources to have any sort of fundraiser?  how does this provide an equal education for all children?

for the love of all that's holy.

please raise my taxes.   please let me pay more for my own kids and other people's kids education.  from now until i'm dead.

please let us all pay a little more for our public schools and then distribute it equally amongst the rich and poor neighborhoods.

it makes no sense to me for us to spend our time when we could more easily and efficiently spend our money to strengthen all of our schools rather than just the ones in neighborhoods where families have disposable time and money to spend on their own little microcosm of education.

and please

save me from the hell of another fall carnival.

thank you for listening.

p.s. read about the algebra project, one of the coolest things going in the u.s. towards increasing equality in public schools, and founded by bob moses, civil rights hero and macarthur fellow.


  1. Amen. It is so much freaking work to raise all of this money, just to pay for the things the kids used to get before 5 years of budget cuts. After serving two years on our PTA board I had to take a year off and get my life back. It's exhausting and frustrating but you feel that if you don't do it your kid won't get all the stuff he needs. Stop cutting education!!!

  2. Yes, I will pay more to improve public education (and not have my kids going to assemblies where they come home saying that they only need to sell 80 items to get "Bruce" , the remote control ballon shark).

    1. bruce sounds truly hideous. and our poor kids! can think of nothing else but getting bruce! another of my anti-fundrasing arguments: so, so, so distracting for the children.

  3. Let's start by raising Romney's taxes. Yes, I went there! I have to say, that I love school fundraisers. It's the only socializing I get! But I admit, I chose my kids' elementary school not for the academics, but for the super cool collection of parents. I wanted fun friends!

  4. Now I must know what the PTA president swore! Also, yes, as I said on Fb, as much as I enjoy volunteering for and attending school fundraisers--the community that is strengthened by them--it's a travesty that parents have to slave away to raise money for freaking public schools at all.

  5. I never remember my parents volunteering at my public school in the '70s. There was no fundraising, yet we had art, music, PE every day. WHAT HAPPENED???