As we approach the awesomeness of tax free shopping this weekend, I am reminded of how much I am irked by the school supply lists. Although this year’s list seems a bit more streamlined than last, I am still put off knowing that my school has pooled supplies and doled them out as needed to the kids.
Last year, each of my kids were required to bring in 96, yes, you heard me correctly, 96 pencils, and something like a dozen full sized glue sticks. Seriously? Do they supplement snack time with pencils and glue sticks or something? I used to take great care in choosing favorite colors or cool, unique items for the kids, but in visiting classrooms and when I see what is returned on the first day of school, I found out the all the supplies are pooled and given out to the kids as needed. I’m not sure when socialism entered the classrooms, but I’m not incredibly happy about it. I’ve tried to find folders, for example, that were laminated so that they’d last a bit longer, and when I send them in with my child, he brings home regular paper ones that last all of few weeks before ripping. Now why should I be motivated to buy special items that will last, if my child is not going to be on the receiving end of them?
I have also heard through the grapevine that some kids show up without any supplies at all. I’m not sure how true this is, as I’ve only heard it third party, but if it is true, it does indeed get under my skin. I have to wonder if parents know that supplies are given out if a child doesn’t bring them to school, and just figure to themselves, why should I buy supplies if my child will be given them anyway?
Even though I believe that people are inherently good, I am becoming more and more convinced that if it’s there, it will be taken. You see this sense of entitlement all the time, and you have to wonder why it seems to be more prevalent. Is it that giving of complements and praise when it’s not really warranted, such as when kids are given trophies just for participation, and not for actual merit? Is it offering programs like Welfare and Section 8 housing that just band-aid the issues instead of actually solving them? I touched on this topic earlier when a shopkeeper from New Orleans ranted on me about the sense of entitlement that kept the poor poor, in her opinion http://obsessmuch.com/2011/08/01/budget-schmudget/. She felt that so much uncontrolled giving just invites corruption, and doesn’t really help anyone.
This year’s list only asks for 48 pencils and two large glue sticks, so I guess I should be happy. One of my sons is participating in the French immersion program, and it generally requires him to switch classrooms to move to the english speaking classes. When your child is in this program, they are required to provide two sets of school supplies, one for the French classroom, and one for his standard set of classes. Although I understand that they will also need supplies for French, I don’t understand exactly why they can’t be used from the pool that was already put together.
I also get frustrated at year end, as it becomes obvious that the teachers must corroborate on these lists and come to find that some of the items I sent in were not even used–a nearly new notebook with only 3 or 4 (literally) pages used. Also a bit maddening is the amount of cutting and pasting that I see used regularly within the curriculum. At year end I see entire notebooks filled with cutting and pasted worksheets glued into them. I guess this is where the 8 glue sticks come into play. Not only is it hogging all the glue, it wasting paper and toner supplies. It escapes me somewhat what they are actually learning with this process. I do undertand this in kindergarten, and maybe first grade, but beyond that? I still see some work, although less, from my soon to be 6th grader with this MO.
I must say that I did save the supplies that were returned year end, and will recycle what I can from the books that were only slightly used. I can only pray that maybe my fourth grader has mastered cutting and pasting and will move onto more challenging learning 😉