School Supplies

Outside of bottled water, nothing gets me more fired up than buying school supplies…

This time of the year, Target, Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, grocery stores, heck even Whole Foods are reminding us that we need to get out our school supply list for each of our children and buy up half of a store, fill up 2 backpacks worth of pencils, pens, paper, binders, and glue sticks.  Nothing frustrates me more, as a matter of principle, than buying school supplies.

It apparently doesn’t matter if it is a public school or a private one.  Living in Spokane, I loved All Saints Catholic School and miss it terribly for my sons. I was a scout leader, coach, and even volunteeered on field trips. I attended mass, choir and drama performances, and looked forward to pick up after school on the old playground. A chance to chat with other parents, say hello to the boy’s classmates, and walk home a couple of blocks.  Loved it.

But…even with my strong affection for that school, the teachers, the administration and the parents, my disdain for school supplies began to take a hold of me like the blackberry bushes did last night when I was picking them; it simply wouldn’t let go. I never understood why we parents were asked not only to buy a long list of supplies for each of our children (8 1/2 by 11, single-spaced, 8 point font), but we had to buy 4 boxes of Kleenex, bottles of hand sanitizer, dry erase markers, and Ziploc plastic bags! Not to mention, paper towels, paints, and I am pretty sure toilet paper (well, maybe not that last one)!  Are you kidding me? Aren’t we already paying tuition?

Now, starting my 3rd year as a public school parent and you know what? The list is at least as long and I thought the property taxes, state and federal government were covering this stuff!  Look, I understand a pen, pencil, some paper, and maybe a binder, but Kleenex? Paper towels? Extra paint? For who? For the teacher? For the poor? Why can’t you provide this stuff for the kids?  I don’t want the teachers to have to pay for it out of their pockets, honestly, and I am pretty sure they do, and that sucks. But seriously, do we really need all of this stuff? WTH is the PTSA for? They want to buy some wireless voting “mouse” for each student to “participate” in a class discussion that costs umpteen thousands of dollars. Really? The kids can’t learn to raise their hand and share their “vote” or “opinion.” Are we that scared? Take a fraction of that worthless purchase and get the teachers some hand sanitizer! I don’t get it. It is a waste of our personal resources. Yea, that’s a good idea, lets sell more rotten cookie dough to get more technology that will help the kids learn…but if you want to stop the spread of disease, or wipe up little Suzie Chapstick’s spilled Kool-Aid, bring it in yourself…

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