Those articles about excessive school supply lists
It’s that time of year again, when the articles about school supply lists come out. They’re always in awe of how many things teachers ask for, and most of them acknowledge the lack of school funding. It’s the one time of year when parents acknowledge the amount of money underpaid teachers shell out for your precious darlings because your legislators are shortchanging the next generation.
The thing, though, that upsets me most about are the fact that these articles always come from some benevolent mother who is explaining that you MUST donate otherwise some poor kid will suffer OR the teacher will be stuck with the bill. The problem isn’t that teachers buy stuff for the classroom or that some students can’t afford the cost of supplies. It’s that people have become complaisant about this issue. Donating to your local school is like sticking your finger in the dam—you might help for now, but the flood is still imminent.
How can you fix this problem? Rather than just give to a classroom, MAKE YOUR LEGISLATORS SUFFER. Seriously—get off your butt and call your legislators. Call them early and often. Send them videos of kids with no crayons and barren classrooms, much like Canadian teachers did when they decided to demonstrate how little the government actually provides. Make time every week to call and email. Keep a form letter to copy and paste, changing only a line or two to remind your legislator (who is getting campaign money and boilerplate legislation from foundations that do not have your best interests at heart) that this issue is important to you. Attend their town hall meetings and bring it up. Don’t let them shoot you down with platitudes. This is their job, and they work for YOU.
If enough of you do it often enough, you’ll see results. Squeaky wheels do get the grease. Use the power of your voice and the power of your vote. If they won’t adequately fund schools, send them packing. If Kansas can do it, anybody can. You’ll have to click your mouse instead of your heels, but you can do it.
Actions speak louder than words, and you need to make sure your actions—and words—reach the RIGHT ears.