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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

School equality isn't so equal

Posted Monday, November 26, 2007, at 1:33 PM

A state statute says schools must waive fees for low-income students to participate in school-day fundraising celebrations, according to the Associated Press.

This was made clear after, according to AP, "a parent of a student at Mufreesboro's Central Middle School complained about paying a $25 fee for the Tiger Prowl fundraising celebration even though his son qualifies for a reduced-price meal. Students who didn't pay stayed inside instead of attending the outdoor games."

Am I reading this right? Students who sold products had to pay AGAIN to celebrate raising the funds?

Fund-raising "reward celebrations" could easily be seen as a form of social discrimination between the haves and have-nots.

Not every child's fortunate enough to have glib, popular parents who can go out and sell hundeds of dollars of items for their kids -- or fortunate enough to have a county full of relatives with open wallets.

Children will learn soon enough that not everyone's going to be equal. Don't ostracize them by leaving them out of activities. They aren't adults yet.

On a related note, "school uniforms" aren't going to make everyone equal, in spite of what Bedford County school officials may think.

I'm not sure if uniform dress codes are worth the effort locally. In spite of what's been said in meetngs, I'm still not sure exactly what results are wanted or the motives behind proposed changes.

It was voiced in the T-G newsroom that some students will still be dressed more neatly than others just based on age of, and care for, those clothes. Some kids will still be wearing worn, dirty or wrinkled clothes.

And, by the time they get to high school, children who work and/or have wealthy parents will be driving nicer cars than some of their classmates. Some of those parents will make sure of that.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few months, but if school officials think class differences are going to be eliminated, it won't happen.


Comments
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Eastside just did the same thing as far as making kids pay to participate. I don't know how they handled the free lunch kids. Other Bedford county schools continue to reward the kids who sell the most. They either have tons of relatives or their parents have many coworkers to sell to. Why do schools need all this money for frills? I thought the county paid for books.

-- Posted by clarabelle on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 4:49 PM

I would bet that the students who hit a certain level of sales did not have to pay again to attend. Instead it was the student who did not reach those goals who needed to have Dad pay the extra $25. If the law states that low income students fees are waived, then this school was out of compliance.

That said, the whole school fund raising thing is out of whack and in some cases, out of control. BUT, I do not think we need the "state" stepping in to tell us that. Instead, we the parents, community and even teachers need to say enough is enough.

The problem with that is "enough is NOT enough". It may sound like the school system is always asking for money and they are, but that is just to keep their heads above water.

Mix in with the teachers and you will find out that they are paying for many of their school supplies or doing without. They are buying Christmas gifts for the students they know will get nothing.

They are either buying coats or doing extra things to make sure their kids stay warm in the winter or have a few new pieces of clothing, etc. And this is from teachers that are not making piles of money in the first place.

Schools may not be able to make enough to add new classrooms, but that extra fund-raising is helping with school trip fees, books for the library, pay for team uniforms, band instruments, choir gowns or maybe spruce up the halls. BY NO MEANS are our schools in Bedford County overflowing with money.

The method of fund raising may need to change but the schools need to raise extra funds.

All this "progress" is choking us to death. Look at the statistics on how much it costs to educate one student, then look at the pitiful "impact fee that is not an impact fee" and you will see that this recovers a pittance of what it costs, let alone educate several students in one family.

Until we get a realistic approach to paying for the growth occurring in this county, our education bank accounts will be running on vapors.

Just my humble opinion.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 8:36 PM

Clarabelle - Most of the money our school raises during a fundraiser is used to purchase the "big ticket" items such as computers, mobile computer labs, projectors, and other tools to help our students compete in the technology driven world we now live in.

Steve - Your humble opinion is, in MY humble opinion, well thought out and very truthful. A good portion of my paycheck goes right back into my classroom!

David - I always seem to agree with the points you make in your blogs. It was nice to finally see someone at the newspaper voice their opinion about the proposed dress code. :)

-- Posted by amori_da_viaggiare on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 9:53 PM

Eastside just did the same thing as far as making kids pay to participate. I don't know how they handled the free lunch kids. Other Bedford county schools continue to reward the kids who sell the most. They either have tons of relatives or their parents have many coworkers to sell to. Why do schools need all this money for frills? I thought the county paid for books.

-- Posted by clarabelle on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 4:49 PM

Sorry Clarabelle, but I am not understanding what you mean by paying to participate.

My child has gone to Eastside for 4 years now and she only has to pay if they are going on a field trip where a ticket price is set or they have to pay for the gas and driver if a bus is needed.

The fall foot race is our only fundraiser for the year and kids are asked to colect pledges or donations. The levels are set so that each child can enjoy at least one celebration for just bringing in $1 and many times the staff and especially the teachers will use their own money to make sure that every child gets to participate in that party- lollipops and dancing in the gym as a whole school with no one left out.

Yes life is not fair and everyone can not be included in every happening. Also there will always be some who can outshine or outdo others. Dress codes won't change it but it does help a little bit. I have mixed feelings about the new "rules" but what is the great harm in having to look like everyone else when at school? You can still wear anything you want when not at school.

I know that most of the kids at Eastside will not be showing up in $100 jeans( I know mine won't) and may not be able to get all of the latest styles or shoes but they will get a good education and that is more important than what they wear.

-- Posted by EastSideMom on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 11:35 PM

As long as teachers and parents continue to pay, then the school system and taxpayers will not see the need to put the funds in. I am "old school" and I am a parent and I do not see the need for all the extras. I don't consider half the field trips to be educational and as far as sports go, I don't see them being rewarded for raising a certain amount of money.

The fund raisers are fine, but kids should not have to feel like they are being punished because they didn't sell enough.

Whatever anyone's opinion regarding the need for fundraisers, the kid with no one to sell to still gets left out.

As a parent, I "donate" so that my kids can make the cut. They don't have half the county as relatives and we do not have coworkers to make up the difference. Even if it doesn't make the kids feel bad, if does pain the working parent who can't give their kids what other kids get.

I am not going to keep going with all I have to say about it because I know that those parents who can provide the reward will not give in and stop the fundraising "reward" system and teachers will continue to buy extras when they don't have to.

Education and extras don't mean anything if you are constantly made to feel less.

--and I also mix with teachers and know their opinions.

-- Posted by clarabelle on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 6:06 AM

I often don't make more than one comment on a subject before I move on. Basically because I do not like getting into arguments, but this is a discussion and a very important one, so.....

While it should not be, school funding is a never ending struggle. I grew up in a small school system, but I never knew that schools did not have art, music, gymnastics, chorus, newspapers, etc. These all seem to be extras in many schools now and are funded more as a second-thought than as a necessity.

They may not seem to be hard, cold necessities, but there are many studies that show that these same programs are able to reach students that are otherwise lost. Even though I feel that we tip the scales toward team sports WAY TOO MUCH, I believe that sports programs also reach many students and teach them discipline, teamwork and give some a meaningful purpose to finish school.

I believe our objective in education is to turn out a well-rounded student and not just a geek or a jock. They will learn to specialize naturally based on their skills and interests. The more we expose them to, the more opportunity they have to find their niche in this world.

Now back to funding dilemma. While I did not seem to lack for school programs and supplies, I also chose not to live in that state because of the excessive laws and taxes. The taxes are what fed the school system. I would pay more taxes here for a stronger school system, but alas, I do not trust the politicians to assign the money wisely.

I believe the burden of funding for school growth should fall on those who are part of the growth. "Well Steve, that will slow the growth of our county." My response is, "Well yes, but your point is?"

I do not believe that progress is only measured in "GROWTH". I believe it is also measured by improvement and they both don't necessarily go hand in hand. If we had one of the best education systems in Middle Tennessee, folks would be knocking on our door to get in and happy to pay a $5,000+ impact fee.

Right now they are coming because we are cheap and have a more rural lifestyle, away from the expensive, congested, crime laden, confusion of "growth".

Yes I know folks, growth fuels good things too but a balance is needed to bring out the best. I do not think we are truly looking at all the costs to our community, and instead allow the money seekers to dictate our future. I was on the other side at one time so I understand many of the motivations.

There is much more to be said, but we will see where the conversation leads us. Candy, magazine, nicknack sales are out of hand, but what is the alternative?

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 7:15 AM

I could have swore, but won't, that my school board member, Ron Adcock, stated that taxes would HAVE to go up another 25 cents if we didn't have those fundraisers.

He said they are a fact of life that have exsisted a long time and obviously didn't want to hear anymore complaints about it.

-- Posted by countrymom on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 5:01 PM

IF you heard correctly, that does not sound very responsive, but I don't know that a school board member can do much more than keep asking for funds.

Our lawmakers are the ones who need to listen and come up with solutions. If they do not want to tackle the tough job, or do not recognize the seriousness of it they should not run for office or step down.

Any comments from our lawmakers? Are they reading the blogs. Shouldn't they?

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 5:15 PM

If anybody knew how to get anything with grants or free or reduced it would be Mr Adcock.

-- Posted by mmp84 on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 7:37 PM

The issue is not so much the fundraisers, but the reward system. I like the ones which do not provide individual rewards--like the sundaes on the principal's heads, etc.

The overall goal should be rewarded and provided to all students, not the same kids every time.

All of the schools are guilty of the individual prizes and if they are given by the company--change companies or tell them to keep their prizes and not present them as incentives.

I also think the schools get a minimal amount--that's why they have become tempted to let parents "pay" for the reward. Then they get all the money.

-- Posted by nellie on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 8:35 PM

The amount of profit to the schools varies but the principals and PTOs try to get the best deal. Sometimes they change to avoid selling the same thing as everyone else or to change things up for those of us lucky enough to have to buy it.

One aspect that used to tick me off was that if too many fund-raisers were held, the state then wants to tax all of the fund-raisers by that school. I don't know if that has changed, but that seemed absurd to me.

The reason they are raising money is because the state had not allocated enough money, but if you try to do it yourself, the state wants some of the income so they can waste it somewhere else.

Makes perfect political logic, I guess.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 8:48 PM

Here is an idea that I will post in an individual blog as well as here.

It may come as no surprise to many of you who read the blog that I am involved with eBay education. During the holidays coming up, I would be willing to teach a free Basic of Selling on eBay to two people from each school in Bedford County, if they want to set up an eBay account to sell donations from the community.

There are numerous ways they could also use this as an educational exercise, like teaching high school students how to manage a business, collect and categorize merchandise, write listings, work up the photography, fulfill orders, packaging, shipping, accounting, cost analysis, etc.

All the while, they are making money for their school, clubs or whatever they decide is right.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 9:12 PM

http://www.columbiadailyherald.com/artic...

Is the dresscode all that Administrators and School Board members have to talk about at their meetings. It seems like they all decided to do the same thing.

-- Posted by clarabelle on Sat, Dec 1, 2007, at 10:16 AM

Fundraising for the extra things needed by students and teachers in the classrooms and our schools is a good thing. I always try to help outbut, I am not a rich person.I have 4 granddaughters,2 that have very serious medical conditions, expensive too.At Southside Elem.this year as in years past,if the children couldnt raise a certain amount of money (even though they tried)They had to sit inside the classroom and watch the other kids play on special toys rented for the occasin.What did this teach the kids? Maybe that trying dosnt count.

-- Posted by elaine-carebear on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 6:23 PM

I think we need to either start a petition at each school and have the parents sign enough is enough and reward the whole student body or no one--or send home a voting stub to let the parents decide what to reward.

-- Posted by stardust on Sat, Dec 8, 2007, at 7:51 AM

-- Posted by stardust on Sat, Dec 8, 2007, at 7:51 AM

Those are two great ideas!

-- Posted by Disgusted on Wed, Dec 12, 2007, at 12:47 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.