Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

School Fundraisers: The Self Perpetuating Spiral

Now that the election is over, I can get back to motherhood and education topics. These ladies are singing my song: Why I Refuse to Do School Fundraisers. All of their points are good, I'd only add the spiraling trends point from my American motherhood reverse culture shock post last year: 

[H]ere is a major difference between American and British school fundraisers: we fund raise for the schools, not charities.  The idea that tuition is sufficient to pay for a school's needs is completely foreign to the American school system.  Private schools rely on fundraising, as do public schools.  A short version of the Texas tale, similar to tales across the country: state schools are funded by property taxes.  School districts with valuable property had more money than others.  The courts shut that “unfair” system down a while back leading to the "Robin Hood" regime whereby property taxes go into a pool and are divided equally throughout Texas.  Wealthier areas, therefore, supplement their school budgets with fundraising.   The charitable function performed by British school fundraising is served by a host of other organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, National Charity League, the Junior League, and by our well attended churches.  I covered this a bit here, but for now, I digress. 
The upshot is that the elaborate school functions not only create more work for the actual parties, but also create more need for fundraising.  More and better fundraisers mean fancier functions and facilities.  The trends feed each other.   
Witness the school fairs. The Fall Festival I mentioned, it reminded me of the London nursery school field day merged with the Christmas Fair if it had a bubble machine, zip line, class pictures, and—I am not making this up—a DJ. I did a stint on the nursery PTA in London.  Planning for our much smaller Christmas Fair took some man hours.  I can only imagine how much work this Fall fest took.  In addition we have the typical holiday parties (though don’t call them Christmas parties in a public school). There are also teacher appreciation luncheons.  The moms bring food and cover the class so the teachers can have a morning off.  (For the British moms who have to keep reading that last because it can't possibly say that, I assure you, this happens.  I took brownies.)
More to come. I held my PJLifestyle Paglia review with it's education critique. Motherhood administration posts coming as well. Even I'm sick of politics.