Friday, August 07, 2009

Bake Sale To Save A Teacher's Job

Time reports:

How many bake sales does it take to save a teacher's job? For decades, public-school parents have organized such fundraising events to cover the costs of field trips, sports equipment and other frills that enrich their children's education. Yet now, as recession clouds hang ever lower and state budgets tighten, schools and districts are increasingly asking adults to help pay for essentials. Parents are under pressure to bring in big bucks for supplies, technology and even, in some cases, staff salaries. That's a lot of sugar cookies.

Parent-teacher associations (PTAs), school foundations, independent community groups - the methods may vary, but the goal remains the same: to prevent public schools from losing more staff and services. In New York City, some public-school parents recently came under fire for paying school aides out of their own pockets. The local teachers union filed a complaint, alleging that the positions were taking away jobs from higher-paid unionized aides. It's all a new twist on an old story. "School spending has been augmented by private sources for a long time," says Andy Rotherham, a co-founder of Education Sector, a Washington think tank. "But this money is now being looked at as a way to restore more core services that are being cut, rather than just to provide extra things."

Other examples are given.

Towards the end of the piece the concern morphs into the haves and the have-nots--is it "fair" for kids in richer neighborhoods, whose parents can afford to fund additional positions at school, to have these benefits when poorer kids cannot?

I can see plenty of reasons to be against having parents fund positions, but that is not one of them. One of the benefits of being rich is that you can provide more for your child! If you and your family can't live a better life, what's the point of being rich? This class warfare and equity bunk is just that--bunk. People are entitled to what they can (legally) afford.

Remember, class-warriors--if you're reading this you're probably richer than 95% of the people on this planet. Is it "fair" that your kid gets to go to school in an air conditioned classroom whilst kids in Ethiopia, if they go to school at all, sit on a dirt floor and swat flies away from their faces? Is it "fair" that you can afford to get your kid a binder and pencils and a backpack and an iPhone whilst kids in other countries have to make do with writing on a slate?

If you want to be a "global citizen", then you must remember that in the eyes of the rest of the world, you are the bourgeoisie. It's just a matter of perspective. If you don't want people coming after you with pitchforks because they're jealous of your (relative) wealth, you probably shouldn't attack others because they have more wealth than you do. Something about living in glass houses.


KauaiMark said...

No matter how bad you think life is for you, there is someone worse off.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Inasmuch as the public education system has "unfairness", i.e. differential funding based on real estate values, built into it's base the only reason to try impose an egalitarianism for which public education was not designed is to warp the reality to fit the fantasy.

Fortunately, the era of truly egregious judicial activism seems to be coming to a close since there haven't been any successful "Robin Hood" suits since Texas so maybe there's hope.

The funny thing is, equalizing funding across a state would be the best way to bring and end to public education but lefties don't look any farther then the end of their egos so they can't see that.

Darren said...

We already have that in California. School funding comes from the state. I'm told it's a result of Proposition 13.

rightwingprof said...

So bake sales out there are legal, but lemonade stands are not?

Darren said...

I saw that. Silly, isn't it?

allen (in Michigan) said...

You've probably got roughly the same arrangement we have in Michigan, a foundation grant from the state followed by locally-raised revenues to allow for the crucial funding inequality.

I poked around and Placer Union High School District spends $7,421 versus a state average of $10,805 versus $9.626 for LAUSD.

I do wonder what would happen if funding were actually equalized across a state. My belief is that it would spell the end of public education but then I'm quite often unreasonably optimistic.