Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Right to an Education...If You Can Afford It

Do you remember back in the day, when you were in school and you got to go on field trips? You brought home the permission slip, your parents signed it, you turned it in and you were golden. Now it's different. This blows me away...

We live in supposedly the richest country in the world. We give foreign aid for cripes sake! And this might seem small and petty to you, but it matters to me; I had to pay $16 to go towards the cost of the use of the school bus for my son's field trip! What about the kids that can't afford the 16 bucks? Public school is free for all, but if you want to go on a learning enriched field trip to a museum and lava caves, cough up some dough. I'm glad that when I was a kid, field trips were free. Otherwise I would never have gone on a single one. Coming from a family with eight kids in it, tells you right there, that we had no money to spare for stuff like that.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me much. Whenever I take a look at my son's homework I just sigh. He has no books. Just photocopies of pages from books. I asked one of his teachers about his once. I was told that there isn't enough books to go around so instead of some having books and some not, they photocopy them for everyone. Now I understood why at the beginning of the year when we got our list of school supplies to purchase, a package of printer paper was on it. On the first day of school, the teachers collect all the packages and put them in the store closet for the classroom. It's just plain sad. But it makes me mad too.

Recently in my school district a ballot measure was put to a vote. A measure to decide to raise the property tax to help pay for more teachers and school supplies like books. It was a hard thing to try to pass. Not only was it about the public forking over more money, but over 50% of the registered voters in the district have to vote on it, but then it had to win by a 50% or more margin. Gee, guess what? It won by more than 50%, but unfortunately the voter turnout wasn't the greatest. So it did not pass.

My son starts high school next year. Bigger school, more kids...I wonder if he'll have books or not? Or just maybe all his classes will be lecture and his quizzes and test will be oral. That would save money on paper, books and pencils for sure.