Monday, August 28, 2006

Print it, memorize it, put it on a t-shirt, post it on the front door

Wherein The Child will be in kindergarten next year so I'll save this and print up copies for the teachers and PTAers

Michelle Singletary is fed up with the tyranny of school begging:
Please understand. I donate money to my children's schools. I give to other projects at schools my children don't attend. But the key word is "give." I write a check in which 100 percent of my donation goes to the schools in need.
But I will no longer sell, cook, walk, wash cars, run or beg for any school fundraising project. Frankly, I've done my time. I've sold my share of candy bars, wrapping paper, tumblers of tiny jelly beans, cookies and books. I deserve time off for good selling. I'm tired of begging.

Ain't that the truth. I hated that stuff when I had to do it and I see no value in turning children into door-to-door salesmen. Not like they're allowed to go door-to-door nowadays. More often this stuff ends up in the office guilting coworkers afraid of being a grumpy nonteam player. For me, that boat sailed, hit an iceberg, and sank a long time ago, so no worries.

Despite the enormous waste of time all this involves, the amount of money actually given back to the schools is insulting. It's usually a small fraction of the total purchase. Even Girl Scout cookies are a ripoff; I think they get 50 cents for every box. I don't need the cookies, so I've stopped buying them. Instead I'll just donate $5. That costs less than the usual two boxes I've purchased and the troop gets more money.

When The Wife was in school The M-i-L headed up the PTA. Also not a fan of fundraising, she figured out how much each family was expected to "raise" so you could write a check for the amount and never be bothered by the fundraising junk mail. Great idea and I've heard of more schools offering that approach. Just tell us what you want and what you'll do with it and I'll probably write you a check. But we're not selling candles, wrapping paper, seeds, cookies, fruit, cheesecakes, any anything. Sally Foster is not welcome in our home.

In a related area, we've heard from neighbors that classrooms at the local elementary school have room mothers. Apparently it is not uncommon for them to request $25 a student to buy a gift for the teacher. I'm not opposed to a gift, and $25 isn't much money, but if there's 20 kids in a class that's a $500 gift. I think a signed card will do nicely, thank you very much. Knowing this will cause my head to explode, The Wife has already put me charge of dealing with this little bit of extortion.


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