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Welcome back to fundraising... I mean school

A Column by the Editor
web posted August 20, 2007
COLUMN – Today is the first day back to school for Edgefield County students so please slow down and “watch that child”. The addition of busses and parents taking their children to school will result in traffic delays, so leave a little earlier than normal. Above all, do not get angry about that bus in front of you that keeps stopping making you late because you did not plan for the first day of school and then try to get around it dangerously. Take time to be the adult when children are watching.

By now most parents have paid their registration fees that are so hotly debated in the Wandering Minds. It is time to get those young minds into the educational process right from the start. First order of business is making little sales people out of our students. I have lost track of the order of the “fundraiser” of the season, but I will say that the Sally Foster Christmas paper is worth the cost. Or, at least so my wife says.

My wife and I have brought two of our children through the local school system and have a third that is a rising sophomore at Strom Thurmond where we graduated in 1981 and 1980 respectively. We have, and will, “do our part” and purchase fruit, paper, and all the other “fundraisers” that consume so much of our students time just so it does not consume so much of their time. “How many do you have to sell? Ten? Here’s the money… now go do your homework.”

I call it the homework / family time extortion tax. You pay or your child, and you, will not be able to get homework and family time in before bedtime during the fundraiser.

I know a lot of you are thinking I must be crazy for writing this column and think I am going to get a ton of hate mail from teachers. I doubt it. I will get some. But the fact of the matter is that school is about learning, not running fundraisers, teaching tests, and providing cookie cutter “programs for education” instead of letting the teacher teach.

Education consumes almost 70% of our local tax dollars. Even with the new sales tax to cover the operation of local schools, we still pay the tax. They just moved it from a property tax bill to the checkout stand. We still have to pay all other school related property taxes.

You would think that after consuming 70% of our local tax dollars and one quarter of all federal taxes the last thing our schools would have to do is force our children into the labor market to sell products for profit. If you did this with your own child to raise income for your family you would be arrested.

Then again, government is a do as I say do, not as I do entity. You have to put your children in a seatbelt in your personal car, but when they pick them up in a big yellow tin can with nothing but scant padding and steel pipe framing and no seatbelts, that’s okay.

I am not anti-education; I am very much pro-education. I do not want my children to go to school to learn some stupid test that is there to make some self-serving legislator look good in the polls. I do not want my child to learn how to sell fruit, wrapping paper, and a ton of junk made in China. If I want junk made in China I will go to Wal-Mart.

I want my child to learn history, math, science, and how to properly use the English language. I want our teachers to teach their class subject. It worked for me, my parents, their parents, their parents, and their parents. And they did it with less money, less government intervention, and fewer days in school.

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