I hate school fundraisers!
A bit hypocritical, I know. I am, after all, a teacher. I guess you could say I represent the very institutions that endorse this kind of exploitation, which underpins much of public schools' enrichment programs. I realize that the budget is lean and that earnings from fundraisers directly prop-up underfunded arts programs. Parents' pocket books are perhaps a direct lifeline to most of the enrichment that takes place in public education today. Nevertheless, my scorn towards fundsponging simmers and I'm sure it will be at full boil come fundraiser's end.
My kindergartner has been in school for all of 14 days and already her school is sending home the dreaded beggar's dossiers. I oppose this kind of manipulation: fundraising that basically amounts to pimping out children to mega corporations in the name of subsidizing public school enrichment programs. But truth be told, our children are not really the ones being pimped, are they?
Let's face facts: I am the one that's really on the hoe stroll here. Since Sadia is only 4 years old, I am the one literally wading through tupperware/ portrait/ wrapping paper/ pizza stick/ calendar/ magazine/ candy sale booklets. I am the one who will put friends/ neighbors/ family members/ co-workers in the awkward position of having to dodge the sales pitch. I am the one who has to study the catalogues, do all of the accounting, reconcile each line item, promote the consumption of ridiculously overpriced products, and pound the pavement. I am the one who has to get on the phone and "remind" gracious donors who neglect to pony up. Then, I am the one who has to drag out my purse when it comes time to underwrite that big fat conciliatory check to balance lopsided calculations. And if I am the one that has to do all of the work, then what the heck is the point?
You know that circus performer who balances spinning plates on sticks, and juggles pins all while he balances on a unicycle? That's how my child's school fundraiser makes me feel.
I am frustrated by those bogus incentive schemes that lean on mother daughter relationships. Cheap, brightly-colored, plastic toys in no way justify what children across the nation are being asked to do: panhandle. How do I explain things like "overhead" and "profit margins" to a 4 year-old-- who values nickels over dollars because nickels are "shinnier"?
I can't win pitted against the guilt laiden rants that result when kids don't get to ride in the limo because they didn't meet a sales quota. I simply won't compete with the brainwashing that promotes toys like the Shake Wobbler Noise Pen, that can only be redeemed if children sell $199.99 worth of junk.
I don't mind giving money to my child's school. At the start of the year, I bought school supplies to help off set Sadia's teacher's out of pocket costs. What's great about this kind of giving is I know 100% of my money goes directly to the school, whereas with fundraisers only a fraction of the proceeds go to schools.
What about you? Where do you stand on the issue of children fundraising for schools? Are you buying in to it?
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