Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Maybe Parents Should Just Say No

Just read a great post titled 'Back to School Hell' by a dad who is grappling with the whole supply lists that schools are handing out right about now. He simply can't believe how much stuff the schools are asking him to purchase so that his child can get educated within the system. While reading his post, as humorous and as true as he nailed it, I had a thought. Why don't parents just say no to these lists? Why don't parents group together and demand that the public school system figure out a better way to manage the money that is given to it?

I mentioned in a recent post that our neighborhood school erected a splashy new electronic sign out front to the tune of $25,000. Schools all over Albuquerque are getting major face lifts, too - some serious architectural restructuring. Not just paint and stucco. The whole shebang. Sure, it's nice to have a nice building to look at and hang out in, but teachers are underpaid and parents are having to shell out lots of dollars to supply the classrooms with the BASICS. Guess I'm feeling heated about this, huh?

I'm wondering why parents are dutifully running to Target or Wal-Mart to purchase all of those supplies. I'm wondering why I did it. I did it bitterly, mind you. The whole time I was walking those aisles I was grumbling to myself about this and that. Maybe I should have just sat down to calmly write a letter to the school and school board and tell them that I flatly refuse to pay homage to the supply list. I could write that letter now, but it wouldn't hold any weight since we are homeschooling. Missed opportunity!

Maybe parents do it because they think they have to? Do they? Does it have something to do with still needing to please an authority figure? Is it fear-based - that somehow a child will get in trouble for not bringing in supplies? I'm just trying to figure it out. I saw umpteen sets of parents and children wandering those aisles at Target over the past several weeks. Had I been in a different frame of mind, I would have interviewed them and asked them about their thoughts.

I'm just observing behaviors and wondering about them. Why do we do the things we do? Sometimes I think we need to break out of the mold and go our own way. This might be one of those times. We parents are good at saying no to other things (mostly things our children claim they can't live without), so why can't we say no to a school system? What do you think?

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