Last month I wrote a post referencing a rather ignorant claim by someone who claimed that schools should not be asking for money from the general public to help outfit and supply classrooms or help students in need (https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/07/02/about-the-civitas-institute-post-on-a-middle-school-asking-for-donations-for-supplies/).
In it the writer stated,
“If HGMS or WCPSS does not have on hand any of the suggested supplies that they are asking parents to buy, what school supplies does the school buy with its approximately $71 per child budget?
Asking parents to pitch in is one thing. It’s quite another to ask because taxpayer money is not being spent wisely.”
It was a purposefully antagonistic missive.
Ask any teacher who has been around in public school for a few years and it you will probably never hear the words, “We are totally funded to get supplies.”
So what happens when the need for technology and updating ways for students to engage with the ever changing curriculum becomes so apparent that teachers have to raise money to help students achieve more efficiently?
Consider the number of students in classes now and the number of classes that teachers teach as compared to when there were class size caps. Consider how evaluations for schools and teachers rely on test scores and student achievement.
What happens is that schools lag behind in technology, but many in the reform movement (vouchers and charters) seem to criticize public schools for being outdated.
I received this comment recently on a post from a good friend of mine who has been teaching for many years.
“I found that the only way to acquire a Chromebook Cart for my students was to fund raise from my family, friends, and school parents. The good news is that we raised $5,730 in five days. How many times can we, as teachers, go to that well? Not too often. In reality, we shouldn’t have to.
This teacher is grateful to his supporters. Why should he have to be? And what do I say to my fellow faculty members this fall when they look at my cart filled with thirty brand new Chromebooks and ask what they should do?”
I know of many teachers who have used grants and other measures to experiment with teacher methods or explore new avenues of pedagogy. Great teachers do that. However, what this teacher did was fund raise from family, friends, and parents for materials that other schools have that his students did not.
Why should he?’
He should not have to, but he does.
And it would not take long to figure out why when you consider our North Carolina General Assembly.
It almost makes me want to start a GoFundMe campaign within the General Assembly for school resources and see what is raised.