Should Educators End In-School Fundraising?
Meeks, Elly Schull, Strenke, Dani, American Teacher
It's cut-and-dried K-12 commercialism
BY ELLY SCHULL MEEKS
KIDS ARE TAKEN out of class to tour the book fair so they can make wish lists of what to ask their parents to buy them, and lessons are deferred for the magazinedrive assemblies that pump up students to sell subscriptions and win prizes. These everyday fundraising practices are unfair to kids, parents, teachers, administrators-and to the community.
Consider these scenarios: Johnny brings Mom his wish list. Mom is cashstrapped but worries that Johnny will feel - and look - bad when the other kids receive their book-fair books in class. After the magazine- drive kickoff, Emily is determined to sell enough subscriptions for a Nintendo Wii or entry to a winners' carnivaJ. And she's lucky, too. Her mother has lots of office co-workers to hit up to help her win.
Teachers, who routinely complain of having insufficient hours to fulfill No Child Left Behind requirements, must scramble to make up lesson time lost to fundraising. And principals? A 2007 National Association of Elementary School Principals survey found most would rather forgo fundraisers during school but find it hard to say no to the programs and equipment the funds help provide - and to the powerhouse PTA leaders ready to supersede the principals' authority for the sake of meeting fundraising goals.
In broader terms, one school's treasure is another's widening achievement gap. Parents in low-income communities lack the deep pockets to subsidize school programs. These schools struggle to provide even basic services and supplies to their students, who inevitably fall further and further behind their more affluent counterparts.
Parents like me push to ban Bratz dolls and curb advertising in schools, but our well-intentioned fundraising subjects kids to a far more detrimental commercialism at school. National PTAmaterials state unequivocally that children not be exploited or used as fundraisers, yet they refer members to companies that promise high fundraising yields doing just that. Raising money in this manner lowers standards of learning and character in our schools.
Elly Schull Meeks, a freelance writer with two children in public school in Montclair, N.J., has written for the New York Times and Education Week.
Those dollars protect schools in tough times
BY DANI STRENKE
SCHOOL FUNDRAISING HAS become a necessary …
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Publication information: Article title: Should Educators End In-School Fundraising?. Contributors: Meeks, Elly Schull - Author, Strenke, Dani - Author. Magazine title: American Teacher. Volume: 94. Issue: 3 Publication date: December/January 2009. Page number: 3. © American Federation of Teachers Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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