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Friday, July 21, 2006
I don't want to shock any children in the audience with talk about going back to school, but chances are you parents have already received the list of stuff you are supposed to buy and send to school with your children when they return. Are you okay with the list? Some Florida parents are not. They think they are being asked to buy supplies, not for their children, but for the school.

Here are some of the items on the list: Ziploc bags, Clorox wipes, paper towels and paper napkins, liquid hand soap, hand sanitizers, Plug-In refills, toilet paper and Band-Aids.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Ah-hah! The teachers are trying to con the parents into buying supplies for the school so the school has more money to spend on teacher salaries." Well you would be...oh wait, you would be right.

A Florida TV station interviewed the chief financial officer for Orange County Schools, Henry Boekhoff. Boekhoff said he had no idea teachers were asking parents for anything other than basic school supplies. He said when principals present their budget requests, the focus is on teacher salaries and money for more staff, and that 85 percent of the estimated operating budget for the upcoming school year will go to salaries and benefits.

With 85% going to salaries and benefits, that doesn't leave a lot of money for utilities, textbooks and other supplies. Instead of holding the line on personnel, salaries and benefits, the principals and teachers are asking the parents to buy supplies – not supplies for their children, but supplies for the whole school.

It's no skin off my backside. I don't have children in school. But it does call into question the educrats' dedication to a "free public education." When it comes to a choice between the educrats accepting slightly lower salaries or charging parents for school operating expenses, the teachers are taking door #1. It's also just one more way that schools are hiding the true cost of public education.

Ralph Bristol

posted by Jack Mercer @ 7/21/2006 10:49:00 AM  
  • At 7/22/2008 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mr. Bristol,
    I invite you to take care of my 40 middle school students any day of the week. I require that they bring paper, pen, pencil, eraser, and a duotang folder. I bust my behind to make sure that they master the skills taught in my class-to the point that those who continue in the high school "represent". I have gotten kudos from my counterpart in the high school for their ability to perform. Despite that, many do NOT bring their own supplies, and can easily waste 30 minutes bothering their classmates, and hindering education, in search of something that they have no intention of even putting to use. Your blog here would leave many educators scratching their heads and wondering when exactly was the last time you were in a classroom. Our school runs out of paper for photocopies every year. If you had been in the copy room of any school recently, during FCAT "season", you might begin to understand why the call has gone out to ask parents to send in supplemental supplies. It is NOT unusual to see my colleagues shelling out their own money, or bringing items from home, to contribute to the classroom environment. Additionally, I can't list any of my colleagues who DO NOT work a second or third job to make ends meet, and I resent your commment about "educrats accepting slightly lower salaries" and will chalk it up to being something written out of complete ignorance. If you want to see wasted money in education, go through MDCPS tentative budget. If you want to see wasted money, check out the cost to our district for interim FCAT testing. If you want to see wasted money, check out the enrollment stats on students who are repeatedly attending summer school, because they didn't have the parental support to get through a course the first or the second time. Stand in the lunch room and watch how much food goes into the garbage can. Walk through the hallways and classrooms and watch how some of our students vandalize and destroy school property and snap their supplies into unuseable pieces. It would be fine and dandy if there were some accountability in our society-but the first word out of some students' (and their parents') mouths is, "It's not my fault." Well, it isn't mine either-I did the right thing, got my education, and decided on this as a worthy career after working in two other industries. Oh, and by the way, all this is on the taxpayers' dime. I could go on and on, but I am sure there will be more comments in this vein.

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Miriam Webster defines Snipe as: to aim a carping or snide attack, or: to shoot at exposed individuals (as of an enemy's forces) from a usually concealed point of vantage.

Miriam Webster defines Snippet as: : a small part, piece, or thing; especially : a brief quotable passage.

In short, "Snipets" are brief, snide shots at exposed situations from a concealed vantage point.

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