Should public schools force parents to volunteer?

Some schools in the San Francisco area are creating mandatory volunteer hours that parents must fulfill in their schools. In some cases the parents receive a grade based on how involved they are and in another school, they literally have a set numbers of hours they must meet.

From The New York Times:

“Inspired by Adelante, now San Jose’s Alum Rock Union Elementary School District is at work on a proposal to require the families of all its 13,000 students to do 30 hours of volunteering per school year. Many of the schools in the district, where 88 percent of the students are poor, do not even have a Parent-Teachers Association.

“We are trying to create a culture of strong parent-guardian-family participation,” trustee Gustavo Gonzalez, whose children attend Adelante, told The San Jose Mercury News….”

“ ‘It’s really simplifying what we know about what really helps children learn,’ said Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, in a telephone interview. ‘That’s having parents who see themselves as learners and as having something to contribute to their children as learners.’ ”

Dr. Seyer-Ochi thinks that teaching parents core reading and math strategies would better support learning than requiring the parents to show up at school.

Now I know many private schools have “service hours” that the students and parents must fulfill. And many sports groups have mandated volunteerism at snack bars and to help raise money for the teams.

It’s also completely understandable that as public school funding is cut they need parents to fill in the gaps. (For example we lost several reading specialists last year and I wondered (but didn’t follow up on it – bad Theresa!) if they needed parents to sit and read and with students who needed more help with phonics.

So why is it so offensive for public schools to say to parents “we need you here!”?

The simple answer, especially in this economy, is that most parents are working full-time jobs and many don’t have flexibility to take off whenever their child’s class needs them.

I think there are ways for every parent to contribute something. If you can’t come in, then send stuff or help with events that aren’t during the school days, like dances or the like.

I do think the sign of a good school is a lot of parent participation. Our school’s parking lot is always full because parents are always in helping. In fact, several of our library volunteers were kind enough to go and help take inventory at another school’s library which had no parent volunteers. The other school’s librarian was so appreciative. She said the inventory that normally took her weeks, they did in one day.

So, in this economy, should schools start mandating parents to volunteer? How would that go over at your school? What method of enforcement could you see being successful, if any?

108 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

May 11th, 2010
7:02 am

I am off to public school today, so I will be brief.

I do not think parents can be forced to contribute……but….teachers have always said ( to me) that if parents were actually inside the school they might have a better picture of what things are like.

One of my favorite books is;

WHAT AMERICA’S TEACHER WISH PARENTS KNEW by Judy Privett

Since I have not taught all grades…l learned oodles of things about middle and high school too!

Yes, when parents are involved…schools are better.

mom2alex&max

May 11th, 2010
7:02 am

I think that’s a WONDERFUL idea. I know working moms are going to chime in here saying that’s unfair and that they can’t take off work, blah, blah, blah. But there are plenty of volunteering opportunities outside of working hours. I think I figured out that at my school (and many other places: church, scouts, sports, etc) 80% of the volunteer work is done by 20% of the parents. Not fair.

Volunteer at schools creates a better environment for ALL kids and everyone must step up to the plate. I know there is a charter school in the Dunwoody are (is it Chestnut?, I forget) that has a similar thing: every parent must volunteer 10 hours per child per year. And they have different things people that work can do outside of working hours.

motherjanegoose

May 11th, 2010
7:10 am

One more thing…I LOVE to see the Grandparents who volunteer. I have always volunteered at my kid’s schools and look forward to doing it when I am a Grandparent too!

Jeff

May 11th, 2010
7:25 am

There’s a huge difference between volunteering and mandatory. I have a huge issue with mandatory.

I was just thinking about this topic on the treadmill this morning: We’ve had this “educational lottery” for, what, 15-20 years now. Why are we having educational budget issues? Has anyone (especially in the media) asked for or demanded an accounting of this money? I suspect the money has been diverted, but I have a real problem with all the hand-wringing over budget cuts and no questions about the allocation of the money that was promised to the schools. Am I the only one who sees this?

First time poster

May 11th, 2010
7:31 am

mom2alex&max – you know that working mom’s are going to chime in blah, blah, blah – how respectful of you. What about the working dad’s aren’t they supposed to volunteer as well? I am a working mom and have always found time to help out at my childs school. I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I can do that. Many parents are not, if they don’t work they don’t get paid therefore they don’t eat. It’s easy when you don’t have to work to support your family to sit back and judge others.

Jeff

May 11th, 2010
7:38 am

First time, you’re right, but mom2alex is a pretty level headed person from her history hear so I’ll give her a pass on the gender thing this time. We working dad’s will have a difficult time meeting mandatory time but as it applies to me; My little one’s mom works from home 800 yards from the school and hasn’t had lunch with our daughter in almost 2 years. I see our daughter at her school 2-5 times a week. It’s not a trumpet of my horn, but it shows that blanket logic rarely applies to an individual. You will never be able to legislate a conscience.

First time poster

May 11th, 2010
7:49 am

Jeff you’re right and that was part of my point. You can’t generalize about anyone, male, female, working or not because we all have examples like yours we can site in our lives. Some people have the means and the desire to volunteer others don’t. Why question would be if you make it mandatory then what’s the punishment for non-compliance? Seems to be an unenforceable mandate.

First time poster

May 11th, 2010
7:50 am

Sorry, that should have said My question, not why.

mom2alex&max

May 11th, 2010
7:52 am

First time: you are right about that, it wasn’t my intention to disregard dads. And I am not sitting and judging, my opinion is based on what I have observed in my children’s school. I do know dads that help out a lot. My sons both do Cub Scouts and there are a lot of dads that do amazing work for that. But I guess Scouts is geared towards dads more and most everything can be done outside working hours.

I blame the schools a little bit on this too: I know that a lot of “committee” meetings are held during working hours, effectively cutting off working parents. I think there should be a concerted effort on both the parents and the school to get EVERY parent involved in their child’s education.

mom2alex&max

May 11th, 2010
7:54 am

First time: good point on enforcing. I am wondering if they would treat it like the immunizations record? As in, if you don’t present that, your child cannot go to school? Maybe not though, I think that’s more of a state law. Interesting point though.

Maybe it’ll work more on pressure? Endless letters and phone calls being sent to parents that do not comply?

Jeff

May 11th, 2010
8:02 am

I think making it mandatory is a slippery slope. Plus, you’ll get the inevitable news story about the single mom that works 3 jobs whose baby daddy ran out and how she can’t make it to the meetings but she’s being punished and it’s so unfair. Additionally, if it is mandatory, which amounts to another form of taxation, do I get to deduct my hours at the school from my taxes based on the hourly rate I would have gotten if I had been at work? How would you allocate the stay at homes value in that versus the work outside the home group? It’s impossible to settle and it can’t be done but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s being made the rule of law in San Fran.

DB

May 11th, 2010
8:13 am

@momtoalex: “Volunteer at schools creates a better environment for ALL kids and everyone must step up to the plate.”

I’d amend that to “Willing volunteers at schools . . .” Parents who are forced to do anyting generally end up bitching and miserable, and making everyone else around them miserable, too. Your observation that 20% of the people do 80% of the work is not a new insight — it’s called the Pareto Principle, and was first introduced around 1905 or so. What the Pareto Principle does not address, however, is that the principle only applies to what is observed, not what is actually accomplished. You may not see Mrs. Smith’s donation of school supplies to a classroom for needy children, but it’s a volunteer effort. You may not see someone who spends time canvassing the neighborhood to solicit sponsors for an event — but you DO see the roommom.

I’m with Jeff, though — if it’s mandatory, it’s not “volunteer”, and I am very allergic to people telling me that I am required to volunteer my time on anything not of my choosing. Time is limited, and how I choose to spend it is MY choice, not some school board member’s. People have different interests in life, and to force them to volunteer at a public school simply because someone else think it’s good for them is Big Brother Government at it’s worst.

Did this apply to me? No. I happened to enjoy spending time at school and with Scouts. That was MY choice. Did I expect the mother of six children, two of whom was medically fragile, to put in the same hours? No — and frankly, I’d have wondered at her priorities if she had. Did I expect the dad who was president of an international company to drop his responsibilities to 20,000 people to come early to help dole out food to the marching band? Nope. I had one mom in Scouts who, frankly, was a major PITA when it came to participation, and I was always just as happy when she didn’t. I could spend 20 minutes telling you, in detail, how this woman made an out-of-town trip miserable for 17 other people — including her daughter — because she was so worried that she was missing a tennis game. A mandated “volunteer” policy isn’t going to change people like that. It’s just going to make everyone that has to work with them more stressed and miserable. It’s kinda like the mandated “community service” that some kids have to do before graduation — it’s meaningless if it’s forced.

Seriously?

May 11th, 2010
8:30 am

While I don’t think parents can be “forced to volunteer” (an oxymoron!). I’m all for strongly encouraging it/bribing them. I see too many people who’s children aren’t bad apples but could certainly become bad apples or simply fail to live up to their potential – if their parents were involved (no, attending a conference is not involvement), the children would surely engage better in school. If mom and/or dad show that education is important with their own time, won’t the kids?

Steven Q. Stanley

May 11th, 2010
8:53 am

Those of you sending your kids to public school are doing so with monies subsidized by non parents and those who send their kids to private schools. Absolutely the schools should mandate parents of public school children volunteer to keep costs down. It should be forced by law.

Lori

May 11th, 2010
8:57 am

I don’t think they can really make it mandatory. They can’t kick your kid out of public school if you don’t volunteer. But I do think some schools could do a better job of making it easier for parents to get involved. I’m lucky that my son’s class this year had a fabulous room mother, and the secretary sends out emails to the parents with information about upcoming events and volunteering opportunities. But not everyone is so lucky. I work, so I can’t always be there to participate with field trips and daytime activities, but I do try to make up for it by supporting the class with supplies/money when they need it, or baking things for parties, etc. So many parents these days just don’t care and it’s sad. My sister is a 2nd grade teacher in a very poor area and she never has parents show up for anything. She gets no gifts/cards for any holiday, nothing for teacher appreciation day, no parents come for conferences, etc. Yet she is the most requested teacher at her school for parents with multiple kids. She understands that these parents don’t have the money to help her, but many of them don’t work, they draw welfare, and they come in dressed to the nines.

ADO

May 11th, 2010
8:59 am

Folks, this is just the start……if it’s forced, it’s not volunteerism……socialism at it’s finest

Dan

May 11th, 2010
9:03 am

If it is mandatory then it isn’t volunteering and when people don’t want to be there they will get in the way rather than help

Chris

May 11th, 2010
9:06 am

@mom2alex&max, If there weren’t working parents then there wouldn’t be the tax base that pays for the schools in the first place. So go easy on families like mine which have two working parents. Our property taxes may be paying for your kids’ school. =]

My wife and I are both lucky enough that we have some flexibility to work from home from time to time and have Blackberries which allow us to work remote in a pinch. So we’re able to attend special events and things for our kids in kindergarten and pre-school. Not all parents have that capability these days.

My mom, grandmother, sister, and uncle are (or were) all public school teachers. So I agree totally that parental involvement is KEY in the success of schools.

Earl "Rockin' Clean Underwear" Waters

May 11th, 2010
9:09 am

Maybe forcing “volunteerism” is not the answer.

Surely there is a way to benefit both the parent(s) and the school. Like some type of benefit or reward, priviledge, etc. available only to those who volunteer.

All in all at the core it sounds like a positive thing. That disconnect between you and the kid’s “world” can be pretty big. In some cases you will be surprised to see what goes on in their world/the school. Or maybe less anxious, depending.

Just $.02

 ∧∧
(・ω・ )
uu_)~

Tonya T.

May 11th, 2010
9:10 am

Actually, as a student in the charter schools both here and in FL parental participation is mandatory. I had to do 20 hours in FL and 10 here. I always thought it made perfect sense. Schools don’t just run themselves. I am now in Gwinnett though, and don’t really feel like the parents in my son’s school want anyone outside their ‘clique’ to participate. Such a shame, because I LOVE being active in my kids’ schools.

ATLien

May 11th, 2010
9:12 am

It’s a sad day when you have to have mandatory volunteerism at schools. But, it’s because over time parents have become less involved in their childs education and treat public schools like a daycare. Parents hand their kids over to public schools and say “educate them” without thinking they themselves have any responsibility over their education.
When I was in school, both of my parents worked full time and my Mom still found time to participate in the PTA and help out when she could – sometimes it was as simple as making a cake for a school carnival.

irisheyes

May 11th, 2010
9:15 am

You can “mandate” all you want, but some parents will be deadbeats no matter what. At my school, I’d just be happy if parents sent their kids with all of their school supplies on the first day of school. (And before anyone jumps on me about “excessive” supply lists, ours is bare bones, pencils, crayons, notebooks, folders, glue.) Honestly, rather than mandating volunteer hour at schools, I wish there was a way to force parents to take even some minimal interest in their child’s education. I wish they’d spend just 30 minutes an evening looking at their child’s homework or reading with them. That, more than anything, would make all the difference in the world.

Just FYI, I teach at a high-poverty school, so the parents there are completely different than the parents many of the posters on here are (and are friends with).

JATL

May 11th, 2010
9:17 am

Normally I would never be for “mandated” volunteerism (talk about an oxymoron), but given my experience as a teacher, I think it would be fantastic! That said, how on earth do they plan to enforce this? Kick kids out if their parents don’t show up? Unfortunately there are a lot of parents out there who are too sorry to do ANYTHING for their kids or their kid’s schools. They’re not going to even send some simple items in place of showing up. Maybe this would at least bring more of them into the school and some would participate who hadn’t before, but I just don’t see how they can force this to happen.

This is why I LOVE charter schools! If you want your kids there -you HAVE to participate! Funny how our charter schools are operated like all of our schools used to be -more parental involvement, behavior requirements, etc.

JATL

May 11th, 2010
9:23 am

As far as working parents go -I have TWO jobs -I work full time M-F during the day and I also work after the kids are in bed from home at nights and on weekends. I could still find time to show up and do things at my kid’s school on some weekend days or for meetings and whatnot in the evenings. My husband also works full time, and he would be able to help out as well. I know MANY working parents who still show up and do things for their kid’s schools and preschools. Quite a number of jobs out there also allow you to take a certain amount of time per month or quarter or year for volunteerism or for your children. A lot of people don’t know this because they never ask and employers aren’t necessarily placing advertising banners around the office! A lot of parents would also be more than willing to say -hey -if you’re staying at home, then you take the weekday stuff and we’ll take the weekend stuff (and this isn’t every weekend or all weekend just like weekday stuff isn’t every week or all week all the time).

Dan

May 11th, 2010
9:29 am

Well this school certainly knows how to enforce the rules

http://www.khou.com/news/Candy-Gets-Third-Grader-A-Weeks-Detention-93033319.html

Sorry a bit off topic, but a fine example of common sense or lack thereof in our schools

Pharr Tow

May 11th, 2010
9:33 am

We are forced to pay taxes to finance schools so why not have coerced service (volunteerism doesn’t seem to fit) as well. Just have to be careful about bringing in bad influences such as alcohol/drug abusers, child molesters, thieves, etc.. I suppose they would have to be pre screened but this appears to be a good idea in principle.

red

May 11th, 2010
9:34 am

My wife is a teacher. I volunteer at our son’s school when I can, but it would be rather unreasonable to expect my wife to volunteer. She is teaching during school hours and is expected to be at the school where she teaches several times a year outside of regular school hours.

While, its no secret that involved parents make for better students, I think this rule is a little strong handed.

On the other hand, requiring that parents sign homework assignments is not over the top and a good way to measure parental involvement.

My son’s teacher sends his homework every Monday and it is due on Friday. It is considered incomplete if it does not contain our signature on it when he returns it on Friday.

lurker

May 11th, 2010
9:35 am

I DO have a problem with a volunteer being “forced” to volunteer!! I do not want someone at my childs school who does not want to be there! That serves absolutely no purpose. At my childs old elementary school, they do have a “dads day” once a month where dads are asked to volunteer for a short time period – helps kids off bus, lunch line, etc. I do work full-time outside of the home, but I volunteer in ways that dont involve being there physically. I help with newsletter, do my childs class newsletter, make copies for teacher, etc. There are many ways to help without being there!! Be creative and think outside the box! I tell my daughters teachers up front – I work, I cant be here physically but will help in any other way I can! they jump on that!

TechMom

May 11th, 2010
9:38 am

I think that some schools have to say they’re ‘requiring’ parents to volunteer to even get them in the door. Specifically 88% of the children in this San Jose school district are poor. What does that lead us to? Probably that there are a great many parents who do not work, there are also probably a great number more who only work part-time and therefore have the time to help but are not getting involved. I don’t think you can force people to not work in order to volunteer but what I would guess is that most of these parents could volunteer but they simply don’t. This seems like a giant publicity stunt but quite frankly, if it works, then go for it. I don’t think they can enforce a punishment for people who don’t volunteer but even if it gains you on average 10-12 hours a year from parents who are at least attempting to help, isn’t that better than what you had before?

Paddy O

May 11th, 2010
9:43 am

Those people that think forcing people to volunteer at a school which already receives a ton of money and simply overspends on labor, especially at the administrative office, really baffles me. Are you really this much of a sucker? Have American’s and their children really become this grossly irresponsible and foolish? The school should NOT need volunteers. Those parents who do volunteer don’t exactly do it on an altruistic basis – your there to hover over your kid and make sure the kid doesn’t embarass you nor the teacher abuse your kid. It is not normal.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2010
9:45 am

If schools are really this tight on $$$, then we should begin to consider charging a tuition to the children who attend – somewhere between $100 to $500. Are we really this disconnected from reality that volunteerism can be mandated, and no one protests the distortion of language?

DLink

May 11th, 2010
9:46 am

Like any free workforce, aka jail workers working the roads and backyards… It is free labor, mandated by the govn’t. The more “free” labor there is, the fewer jobs there will be. Goes well with socialized universal health-care, so as long as these parents would all be offered free health-care and food stamps, I would not be opposed. As it stands today’s economy is that of a two income household to pay the bills. When the economy returns to a one income household, please let me know, and I’ll be there for govn’t mandated free labor.

David S

May 11th, 2010
9:48 am

Once again, the truth of socialism/communism raises its ugly head. Parents get a free ride with government schools. They pay virutally nothing compared to the costs of educating their children (and it only gets worse, the more kids you put into the system). Therefore they place little or no “value” on the service. Yes, value has real meaning, and it is tied to money in this case.

So what do we see. We see a system that gets money from people whether they wish to pay or not. A system that does not actually have to “earn” the money as private service would have to, and parents that have no value for the service because it costs them virtually nothing (or there is no way for them to avoid the expense so it is essentially non-existent). When the parents don’t value the service they put nothing into it. Calls for assistance, etc. fall on deaf ears as they know the service will be there for them regardless of their contributions.

Compare that to homeschool or private school. Here we see parents that put significant “value” on the service because they either provide it themselves or pay directly for it. My parents volunteered any time they could to help out at the private school I attended. Generally, since both of them worked, and nowhere near the school, this was difficult, but they did what they could and didn’t need to be “forced.”

Socialism always fails because it is based on force – as are government schools. The service is provided, regardless of one’s contribution. There are no opportunities to pull out and take your money. Politics is more important than pleasing customers. Money comes without work or “earning” the business so behaviors are reckless and so is spending.

The solution as always is an end to government run schooling. But of course the socialist way always involves “forced volunteerism.” Historically it has been at the point of a gun. Good luck with that.

John S

May 11th, 2010
9:51 am

It would be better if parents prepared their kids to succeed at school. Maybe try teaching them respect for others and the willingness to accept personal responsibility. Then the teacher may be able to teach without the disruption caused by bratty spoiled kids.

Larry M

May 11th, 2010
9:51 am

It is really frightening to me that a government school could have any authority to compel the labor of a student’s parents. I can’t imagine under what legal authority they could do this. If you are sending your kid to a private school or charter school, then you should know up front what your commitment as a parent is, so I have no problem with that.

However, if I am sending my kid to the government school that is paid for by my (and everyone else) taxes, then I have a major problem with the idea that the government can compel my free labor. It starts with a requirement that you come help out on a weekend to tend to the landscaping. Seems innocent, right? Next year, they want you to come in and paint the walls. The following year, its help out in the cafeteria fixing food. The year after that, monitor detention hall. Where does it end? When the parents are forced to be lunch ladies, janitors, crossing guards, etc?

If the budget situation is dire enough and the parents are concerned enough about their kids, they can form a private foundation to which parents can voluntarily (and I mean really voluntarily, not compelled) contribute to augment the school’s budget. This is done in school districts here in metro Atlanta right now.

David S

May 11th, 2010
9:54 am

Larry M – The entitlement mentality, written into the state consitution, will never be overcome for the majority who have never learned or understood the concept of personal responsibility. Those who understand are already taking care of business and are not a burden to the rest of us, and neither are their kids.

TechMom

May 11th, 2010
9:56 am

@Paddy O, I do agree that if everyone who has a child in public school were required to pay additional ‘tuition’ on top of their taxes, they’d care a little more and wouldn’t it make it more fair for those of us who chose either to not have a slew of children or put our kids in private school? It amazes me that the same parents who don’t blink twice about $800-$1200 a month in daycare costs suddenly scream at the thought of having to plunk down a few hundred dollars a year for public school when Johnny turns 5. No one is letting you drop off 2 kids at daycare for the same cost so why should it be the same for public school?

SINK

May 11th, 2010
10:02 am

As long as they don’t call it “volunteering” I’m all for it. As a taxpayer with no kids in school, I’m paying the same as the parents whose kids are in school. I’m all for these parents paying “a little more” by giving productive time to the schools on top of what they pay in taxes. What a great idea to make it more fair.

Sue

May 11th, 2010
10:02 am

Before we moved from out of state, my oldest attended a charter school that required each parent to contribute 1 hour of service per week, per child. The system was organized with allotted tasks and responsibilities– some during school hours, some during weekend events, some from home. Because I was expecting a 3rd child in the middle of the year, I doubled up my hours in the first semester by working in the office one morning a week, and assisting the after school program’s art teacher one afternoon a week. The system worked extremely well because it was organized. At the end of the first semester my husband was laid off from his job and we had to move to Atlanta. I was able to donate my hours to another parent with 3 kids in the school.
There was also a community program for full-time working parents who had trouble arranging enough time to meet the requirement. Members of the community WHO DID NOT have children in the school could donate their volunteer hours to those parents. I think it is amazing to foster the notion that a school is an essential part of the community, and that every taxpayer has a responsibility in the education of its future citizens.
My two oldest children now attend a public school with 100% parent involvement in the PTA. I am fortunate to be able to be a homemaker, and I still take it upon myself to donate 3 hours per week as a school volunteer in the literacy center. I do 3 hours, even though my youngest is still in preschool, to cover the parent who is unable to give their time. I know several parents within my kids’ school who volunteer at other elementary schools with a less prosperous population. My mother is retired, and she is a volunteer at her local elementary school.
My point is this: it doesn’t matter if you are 21 and childless or 65 and retired; these are YOUR schools. As for school administrators, bring yourself and your PTA to task to create a volunteer system. Tutor, mentor, pick up trash, assist the track coach, file paperwork, lick envelopes, READ WITH THEM. The greatest investment we can make in our community is to make sure our children are educated.

TechMom

May 11th, 2010
10:06 am

Sue, you hit the nail on the head with my next comment (below). Schools have to be ready for parents if they expec them to volunteer. Don’t ask me to volunteer and then expect me to figure out what needs to be done….

I think that if schools made volunteering easier, they would get more help. Some schools are good at offering opportunities but in others, unless you are president of the PTA or her buddy, it’s very difficult to know what needs to be done and how you can get plugged in.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2010
10:11 am

Sue argues for the pollyanna universe of commune/utopia. She thinks that even if you don’t have kids in school, you should volunteer. As a “homemaker”, she has a lot of flexible time to volunteer. Of course, with 100% participation, this begs the question: Where is this? St Simons? Also, what the median income and median home value of where she lives? If i had children, yes, i would be heavily involved in their school. Since I have no kids, I have many, many other interests far more important to me than the education of someone elses child (such as animal welfare). I do not agree that it takes a village – it only takes earnest, dedicated parents. Even then, it tends to be a crap shoot.

Billy Blank

May 11th, 2010
10:12 am

How about a situation where this is mandatory for those who pay little or no taxes?

Clay

May 11th, 2010
10:12 am

Well, I have 2 issues with my Gwinnett County elementary school. One, all the parent “leadership” comes from a core group of women and they’re not really interested in outside advice on anything. Two, my school asks for too much, in my opinion. We are bombarded with so many requests, we get burned out to them.

I’m talking about getting emails to cleam up the grounds. They ask us to sharpen pencils for the teachers before standardized testing. They want us to sit in hallways as “proctors” during standardized testing to make sure no one in the halls make noise. We need to bring in snacks and treats for the teachers to enjoy while preparing to administer standardized testing.

We need to buy the spirit wear. We have to buy field day t-shirts. We need to make a couple of food bank donations each year. They ask for clothes donations and then toy donations in December. We constantly get notes from the teachers begging for more Kleenex and hand sanitizer. Don’t forget we need to eat at Stevi B’s each month, as well. Of course, all of this is after starting the year by bringing in 3 to 5 Target bags full of “classroom supplies” and making monetary donations to things like the “Clinic Fund” and the “Young Writer Program” and for “Technology.”

Like I said, it’s just too much. I don’t mind helping. We help all the time. I just don’t know how I made it through elementary school. I went to Morris Brandon in the 1970’s and all I ever needed to take with me was a Trapper Keeper and two #2 pencils. No spirit wear, no year books, my parents didn’t have to come sharpen pencils or fill the classrooms with Windex wipes and paper towels. I don’t get it.

David S

May 11th, 2010
10:18 am

For an example of my argument, just look at the comments from Pharr Tow.

“We are already forced to pay taxes to finance schools.”

The last estimate I saw indicated about $9500 per student is spent on education. Look at your own property taxes and compare, but let’s pick a round easy number like $2000 per year per household (that is probably a bit high for most by the way). If you have one kid in government schools, everyone else is paying $7500 a year to cover the costs that family is not paying (yes, that family is paying more through the same mechanisms I will be mentioning, but it falls far short of the difference). The second kid is a full $9500 plus the $7500 for a total of $17000 per year for a family with two kids that everyone else is paying for. Businesses are picking up the bulk of this cost. For most, they pass the costs on to everyone in higher prices. For some, the increasing burden forces them to close, putting them and their employees out of work. The folks without kids are paying in high school costs, higher prices, and higher income taxes for a service that does not benefit them at all. The folks who homeschool are having to pay for their own supplies and teaching materials plus the school tax, income tax and higher prices. The folks with kids in private schools have all those costs plus the high tuition. Certainly because so few choose this option and because of government regulations, the costs of these private schools is much higher than it would be if government minded its own business and there were more private schools.

David S

May 11th, 2010
10:19 am

So for every two child household in GA that send their kids to government schools, $17000 a year must be taken from the community at large. That’s $204,000 in 12 years times how many of these households in GA and you can see that literally billions of dollars must be taken from the economy and the pockets of people who do not benefit, all to subsidize “free education” for millions of kids whose parents “think” that they already “pay taxes to finance schools.”

And for the record, without any government schools, there would be plenty of available private options that were just as convenient and prevalent (if not more so) than what we have today. Face it, education for every kid is important and thousands of providers would be in business to provide that service. I don’t thank the government for Kroger or Publix being conveniently located near my house. They are there because there is a need and a paying public. The same would be the case with private/charity school options. And in a private system, I likely would not have to worry about my property values dropping because the politicians closed a school, redrew the district lines, or any of the other crap that the government system delivers on a daily basis. So don’t bother with the “I benefit from the high property values due to good schools.” It is an empty argument that presumes the current conditions. Nobody’s property values should be based on something so politically-controlled.

So as you can see, there is perception of payment and then there is reality. The reality is that this is Socialism and it has never worked.

Paul A

May 11th, 2010
10:22 am

MANDATORY VOLUNTEERISM —- Another Obamunist oxymoron.

If one soul thinks I am going to participate in Mandatory Volunteerism they need to choke on my axe handle.

Becky

May 11th, 2010
10:24 am

@irisheyes..I also have a problem with parents that don’t send in the right supplies..When my two (twins) were in kindergarten, I (dummy) sent in everything that was on the list x two..Boy was I ticked off when I was told that everything was put in a basket for all of the kids to use because some parents didn’t send in..I spent like $275.00 buying what I thought these two would need and it didn’t even last them thru Christmas..

Where they are at school now, I go at least once a week and have lunch with them and each time that I’m there, I ask the teacher if they need anything..The last time that I was there, the teacher told me that she wished more parents (or Nannys in my case) would be involved..

K&K's Mom

May 11th, 2010
10:33 am

As a former school teacher in both the private and opublic sector, I think it is a GREAT idea and wondering why more schools aren’t doing it. You can’t imagine how hard it is to get parents to come to things at the school and how difficult it is to get parents to be actively involved.

As a parent of two girls who attend the wonderful charter school in Clayton, it is mandatory that each household do at least 20 volunteer hours a year and I can’t tell what a difference it makes they have THE most parental involvement that I have seen in all my years, sometimes there isn’t enough parking because of all the parents volunteering for something. Certainly it is unfortunate that it has to become manadatory but reality is that society is different than it was back when we were kids and we had one parent working and one parent at home who could be at the school for anything. Now with both parents generally working, you have to force parents to use a day to volunteer at the school and employers aren’t as family friendly as they used to be either.

So I think that it is a great thing……

BejeweledOne

May 11th, 2010
10:36 am

One small thing that people are overlooking. Many families with children in school, also have younger children who are not in school yet. Is the school going to pay for Childcare so that those parents can volunteer?

Not only that, but expanding on the thought of parents who don’t want to be there will make everyone miserable -

There are a lot of parents who may not make the cut as abusers, but who come pretty darn close, unless the school is screening these parents, are you sure you want them around your children? It only takes a minute when someone isn’t looking or listening to hurt a child.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2010
10:40 am

Becky – are you saying your 2 kids are just 2 kids you are taking care of, or are they actually your biological children? Your last statement lost me. Also, it is a good example of socialism. Currently, teachers receive excellent pay and generally have a small class room; add to this Vice Principals, social workers and para professionals, and the government education system is labor heavy, and has a very high pay scale. This leads to a lack of supplies, which the school system demand the parents pay for. But, the supplies the parents buy should NOT be given to other kids – those other parents need to be forced to supply those items, or you punish the kid – this would get the parent’s attention.