Who is for the kids?
Minor MusingsWhen I was a kid, the first day of a new school year was always an exciting time. We got new school clothes and new shoes and we planned at least a week in advance exactly what to wear that first day. Of course, the schools mandated that girls wear dresses or skirts - no pants - and boys had to wear collared shirts with the tail tucked in.
Published: August 29, 2010
Published: August 29, 2010
Classroom supplies were bought by the school system with tax dollars and distributed to students that first day so all students in the same grade had exactly the same supplies. Parents never had to buy anything, and no student had anything better or fancier than anyone else. And no one had to lug a loaded backpack to class, ever. We carried our books in our arms along with our lunchboxes. It was fair, efficient and healthy for all.
You could be sent to the principal's office for bringing a calculator to school. That was considered cheating. Math was to be done in your head or on paper only. Nowadays calculators are on the mandatory supplies list for third graders. What's up with that?
When my children were school age I was shocked to be handed a long list of supplies that parents were expected to buy for each child, including boxes of tissues and paper towels for the whole class to use. And I remember the children's angst when we didn't get exactly the same supplies as the other kids, especially the popular crowd.
I also remember when we lived in Texas, and the schools sent home a form for parents to sign and return along with a check. It gave consent for the school to purchase the supplies directly from the manufacturers, taking advantage of huge volume discounts. Parents then volunteered to count out and package them in large plastic bags so on the first day of school each student could simply pick up his/her supplies and all had exactly the same of everything. It was so-o-o much easier, more efficient, and more equitable.
Unfortunately, the Walmarts and Targets of the world lobbied against it and a few years later the service was discontinued. Parents and teachers alike protested the move, but the interests of money and profit won out over the good of the children. Typical, but sad.
This past week I was driving down U.S. 27 through Avon Park, going the speed limit, 45 miles per hour, when a school bus whizzed past going at least 10 mph faster. A sheriff's deputy in the next lane did nothing. Also typical, but sad.
Thousands of teachers, in Florida and across the nation, have been determined to be critically underperforming and resulting in students doing the same, yet we're told nothing can be done to get rid of those teachers because they are protected by union contracts giving them tenure. Again, typical, but sad.
What is going on here? Just when does the good of our children take precedence over the wishes and needs of the rest of us? The children are our future. They deserve better from the adults entrusted with their care, parents, teachers and taxpayers.