My daughter started kindergarten this month, and there have already been many surprises, both positive and negative. On the positive side, she loves riding the school bus, and doesn’t seem particularly tired out by the long school day. On the negative side, she is bothered by how loud the cafeteria is, and doesn’t like that students are required to take a book out of the school library once a week. (Huh??)
But the surprise I’m enjoying least, is how frequently the school hits parents up for financial contributions. This month alone, we’ve been asked to purchase school t-shirts/sweatshirts, Scholastic books, and tchotchkes with our kid’s school picture on them. Oh, and the first request for Box Tops for Education was sent out by the HSA (home school association, aka, PTA). I knew that one would be coming, so I’ve been saving up for months.
I completely understand that public schools are under-funded, and I absolutely want my daughter to have as many educational opportunities as possible, but it feels very wrong that parents are being asked to cough up money almost monthly. This month, it comes a matter of weeks after asking us to provide not only school supplies for the classroom, but also tissues, wipes, and other seemingly basic materials. Again, I’m happy to provide these items, because I want them to be there for my daughter and her classmates, but really? Tissues?
I’m not blaming the teacher, principal, HSA, or school here. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly who to blame – state government, the federal government, society as a whole? I’m sure there’s plenty of blame to go around. So what’s a parent to do? I was excited to receive a flyer from the HSA, letting families know that we can opt for the “armchair fundraiser”. We write a check for the amount the HSA estimates they spend per child per year, and this exempts us from participating in their annual fundraisers. Armchair fundraiser? $75. Not having to bug friends and family members to purchase gift wrap, candles, and bad chocolate? Priceless.
What kinds of fundraisers do your children have at school? How often do you participate? Do you feel pressured?
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