Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school

Ramping up from a refreshing nine-day hiatus, where I withdrew from posting here but was keeping an eye on various news alerts, etc.
For many across the province, this is the second week of classes. For the rest, today is the first day. First-day coverage is always an interesting read, though I delighted in reading the headlines noting absenteeism from those schools with a pre-Labour Day weekend start was relatively low. Simply another change that people dealt with.
Noted with interest today a series the London Free Press has started on the cost of school, speaking to all the little extras that families chip in for throughout the regular school year. I'm envious of the idea, which I won't replicate given our mutual coverage area, however-- I will note there has been some previous local reporting on school spending in Owen Sound this summer, here and here.
The first Free Press article is here and reporter Kelly Pedro is looking for a family she can follow throughout the school year, chronicling its school spending. Obviously, a family within the Freeps' coverage area (preferably London), which includes Oxford, Elgin, Middlesex, Perth, Huron and even a bit of Bruce counties.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Kelly should widen her focus: the family's school spending, the teacher's school spending, the home and school's school spending, and the school's spending.

Maybe schools should be purchasing paper, pencils, and paint brushes instead of smart boards and computers that are slower than grandma.

Anonymous said...

I read Kelly's piece and feel that if parents don't want to fundraise they just shouldn't.

I also found that it was actually other parents who were the most offensive in pushing other parents into fundraising. There's a whole hierarchy of nastiness that goes on that few like to talk about but which many parents experience.

In my experience on a school council one meeting I remember clearly is during a year when the fundraisers and requests for money were literally out of control. No fewer than 6 going on at once.

Parents didn't like it and said so, but teachers also didn't like it.

It ended up that the next year we toned the number of requests down, and drafted a plan that we could distribute at the beginning of the year for the two major fundraisers we were going to have that year.

We also invited those parents who wished to do so, donate in September to their own child's classroom in lieu of any other fundraising that school year.

Worked VERY well under the next two principals. Don't know if it's still in effect.

Something else that parents balked at were the types of fundraisers that used the children for Jr. sales people - the magazine one as an example had children as captive audiences in a gym and a rep. for that fundraiser threw candy and offered prizes for the most sold.

We nixed that fundraiser - but I hear it's back.

I think that the amount parents fundraise lets the gov't off the hook.

If I were a gov't looking for savings and saw a board raising $7million from parents, would I take that into consideration at funding time? You bet I would!

Further if I were gov't I'd wonder if parents can be so generous would they mind paying an additional "education premium" dedicated to cover the things they're fundraising for?