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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just an idea for next year

So, as fate would have it, I've watched two incredible documentaries about America's schools this week. The first was on PBS and the second, which I just watched, was on HBO -- a documentary about Central High School, Little Rock.

These documentaries, although completely different, both brought the same point home. Our teachers and our kids are not getting the help we need. They are, however, getting all of the pressure in the world to succeed and be perfect.

I am wondering if, in 2009, we might be able to do a strong initiative for schools. The idea I have would be to make small, brightly colored bags and fill them with things like pencils, pens, erasers..maybe some homemade stuff. I know it's been tough to do projects like this because of the "stuffing" but it's worth a shot. I know that a lot of kids go to school without any school supplies. I know that teachers often have to pay for their classroom supplies. If we could make a dent in those kinds of problems, it might at the very least raise morale. We could also make contact with the groups that send stuff to Iraq for those school kids...wherever you are I'm sure this project would be relevant.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Sandy said...

A noble idea; but I'm not sure it's one thats real doable? People I think are really stretched, and knowing which supplies that particular school needs, what's on that list thats grade appropiate etc could be a problem.

But, you are 200% right about kids without supplies, and teachers buying things out of their own pockets. My daughter is a 5th grade teacher. She teaches in an at risk area. She buys the bulk of supplies for classroom which is quite difficult as she's not even paid a real salary. She's on a stipend. She's involved in a 2 year program where she's paid a stipend, leaves in community housing (an unused convent), pays reduced rent, and in exchange for that she's going to grad school to get her Masters. This is the 2nd year of her 2 year commitment. She has a class of 24. Some of the kids live with an aunt, others with a grandma, others with a varierty of people. Sadly the number who actually live with their parents isn't necessarily the norm. We spent several hundred dollars one day while we were on vacation with her this past summer stocking her up with supplies. Notebooks, paper, pencils, pencil sharpener for the classroom, folders, clips, chalk, etc. etc. She often even has to pay to have tests photocopied at kinko's on her way to work in the morning. She had no reading materials in her classroom last year, sent me a list and I hit every used book store in town; bought paper backs, and laminated them to try to give them a little longer life.

It is a real problem. If you get people on board with this, you can count me in. I keep doing what I can to help her room, but know she's not the only one who deals with this problem.

Have a great wkend.