Monday, June 16, 2008

Blenders in Education - Its a Necessity!

I received an email from my daughter's elementary school last week. I've been steamed about it ever since, so I shall blog about it and then, hopefully, feel better.

Let me start out by saying that I like children. I have fun with my six-year-old daugher. I think all children should feel special. At special times. Not every waking moment.

There have been lots of parties in my daughter's classroom this year. Holiday parties (not just those around Christmas), birthday parties, spring parties, winter parties, and just for the heck of it parties. There are celebrations when teeth fall out, when a child first reads and when they can count to one hundred. I'm sure there are other celebrations that I don't even know about. The last couple of weeks have been rather hot. The school is not air conditioned in most places, and the children get ice cream and popsicles almost every afternoon to cool them off.

So when I received the smoothie email, my head blew off.

Many parents volunteer for various activities at the school. I go every Wednesday morning and do crafts and other activities with the children. Some parents work in the library, others in the cafeteria. So many others deal with fundraisers. So, naturally, when I was asked if I would like to brings supplies to make smoothies and serve the children in the school's lobby, I was not inclined to participate. I wanted to protest. Loudly.

I live in a fairly affluent area. I may not have the means to hob nob with the Country Clubbers, but am plenty able to buy my groceries and gasoline. The public school system is top notch in my town. There are few private schools. They are just not needed. The public schools have all they need and them some, as you will soon see. The kiddies in town have plenty of food, clothing and toys. I hear about it when I volunteer. The kids love to tell me about their own televisions, computers, computer games and cell phones. THEIR OWN. In their own rooms. They have it all.

The school provides the parties (with help from parents), popsicles, ice cream. And now the parents are supposed to come and spend the day SERVING the little princesses and princes smoothies. Excuse me, but aren't they coming into this building to LEARN.

The topper (aside from a cherry), is that if, in addition to SERVING our little offspring further, we can bring blenders from home. The PTO (parent teacher organization), already has two blenders from a grant, but more would be helpful so be can better SERVE the kiddies. A GRANT FOR BLENDERS. I thought grants were for such things as updating textbooks, computers, gym equipment. BLENDERS. Who the hell decided blenders were necessary for education?

Wouldn't money spent on blenders be somewhat more beneficial spent elsewhere? If my school does not NEED money (I'm guessing it does not), couldn't it be sent somewhere else? Wouldn't the New Orleans public schools need an item or two? How about inner-city schools? Good Heavens, we should be able to find a place that might just need one blender.

Whew! I feel a bit better now. Perhaps next year I could put a bug in the ears of the folks who discuss grants about sending money where it is needed. I'm sure my popularity rating would drop. Would my child then be shunned? I mean, its already hard enough on her at home. Ice cream at home is a treat. Call Social Services!!!!! Give us a blender!!!!


Sheree Rensel said...

I read this post early this morning. I can't get it out of my mind. I am an artist. However, I am a teacher too. This "blender" scenario you describe boggles my mind. I don't blame you for ranting! Absurd!
Yet, the other part of me keeps thinking about the juxtaposition of the variations of "public" schools we have across this country.
I work at a public school in which 95% qualify for free lunch. We see very few parents on Open House night and have no parent volunteers, ever. We don't have a PTA. That was disbanded because there were no P (parents) to join the T (teachers). Since there isn't family involvement, teachers buy all the stuff for parties, treats, etc. Since I teach art, I spend mega-bucks each year for supplies for the kids.
I wish my school was like the school you described. However, I wouldn't expect BLENDERS! LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your rant! I'm always fascinated to see what bugs other creative people and why. Although I don't have children, my tax dollars help educate our youth and I certainly agree with your perspective on this one!

Perhaps you could suggest a "grant" for getting some of those popsicle-making molds. Then all of you parents could come in and make AND serve 'em up!

patty a. said...

I feel your pain. I work for a company that manages the construction of new schools and you would not believe the money they spend on stuff that does not contribute to the education of a child. Fancy windows, fancy paint finishes, landscaping that no one takes care of, and over designed cabinetry and desks for the adults - not the children. All of this is taxpayer money that is being wasted. Their focus is on making the building pretty and meanwhile cabinetry for classrooms has to be cut because of being overbudget. I live with the frustration everyday.
And the coddling of kids these days! They have graduation ceramonies when they finish kindergarten - what is up with that! To me, kids these days expect to be catered to and will not be able to handle disappointment because they are given everything. I believe childen need to be nurtured not put on a pedestle!

Ellen said...

This reminds me of the affluent (and not so affluent) parents who give lavish themed birthday parties to their children every year that take so much time, money and effort to put together. No wonder our children feel so much entitlement.

Attending to every little detail of our childrens material needs has become the norm for the middle and upper class. It's a sad reality that teaches nothing of value.

Ellen said...

Oops, that would be 'material wants', not 'needs' I mean. (need to proofread more)