This post by sweetpeafairies reminded me of why I laugh when people say we have equal educational opportunities in the US.
In addition to the $1,000 per child that we donate to the local educational foundation & school site committee so that the kids can have art, science lab, social studies, PE, music, computer technology, and well-maintained playground equipment (all items not funded by the state), there are several other checks we write.
Parents write a $65 check for school supplies which the school then orders. This may sound low to some but remember the district gets a significant volume discount doing it this way and there’s no sales tax. The drawback is that teachers for each grade agree upon a common list of supplies so it’s uniform to each grade rather than teacher specific but, on the flip side, it does mean the teacher knows that every student will have the required supplies on hand at the school and ready for use when the teacher wants.
Parents also give each room mother a $50 check to cover gifts for the teacher (holidays, birthday, teacher appreciation week). We’re all human so we like to be recognized. There’s nothing wrong with that. So, our kids benefit from teachers with boosted morale because they’re being recognized for the many wonderful things they do for our kids.
Lastly, parents write the room mother a $65 check to cover classroom activities such as field trips (but there’s no transportation cost because parents drive), specific classroom items the teacher may want or need, and any classroom parties the teacher wants to hold, etc.
You can see why a teacher might enjoy our school district. The need for the teacher to buy classroom supplies out of their own pocket is greatly diminished, although not completely eliminated. Additionally, there’s recognition for their hard work.
In addition to education not being an equal opportunity for every student, it’s not an equal opportunity for every teacher. Some teachers in this country have ample supplies for their classroom while others don’t and often must use their own money. For many students in this country that means their classroom experience is impacted by their teacher’s ability to afford his or her own classroom supplies. This is unfair for the teachers and the students.
And, don’t forget the cruel irony that teachers in poorly-funded districts tend to earn less money making it more difficult for them to afford classroom supplies with their own money. Plus, these teachers, who could probably most use the morale boost from receiving a few small gifts of recognition, are unlikely to get them.
There really has to be a better way to do things. Otherwise, we will continue to see educational opportunities limited simply because of a child’s zip code.
And, if you think being a teacher is easy, you’re
an idiot not well informed and probably don’t spend much time in your child’s classroom.