The kids at school are preparing to have carnations delivered to their friends, pay the chorus for singing Valentine's to their sweethearts and planning next week's winter carnival activities. At a time where just a few weeks ago, the school made a dramatic gesture to involve the students in politics, from wearing their Obama buttons before the election in the fall to broadcasting the inauguration the first time the school broadcast it since the Clinton years (notice a trend that they only support the president if he is Democrat?) the school is surprisingly mum on the state of economics in the USA. Well, aside from complaining that the teachers are underpaid and overworked, the same things the teachers would spout during school hours when I was there 20 years ago. Of course, out of school, they were too busy enjoying their weekends off and evenings off to discuss work. (With the exception being the few, but very hard working teachers who loved what they did for a living. And like all people who love what they do, it showed. Unfortunately, it was few and far between.)
But instead, we have large numbers of families moving out of the area. Incidentally, these are the same families who only arrived 5-6 years ago during the housing boom. So, a large number of families arrived, flooded our schools with kids, caused the schools and taxpayers to increase spending to accommodate and now they have left or are leaving. The problem lies, not with the change in population, but with the lack of change in adjusting to the change. (Odd wording). The school continues to have the same number of teachers (or more) with less of a population of students. It continues to offer an abundance of classes, activities and supplies when the demographics have changed.
Take into account one little tidbit - Each teacher is assigned a $1200 laptop. One teacher kept the laptop on the floor of the passenger seat of her car during the summer where it was destroyed by her teenage children and passengers who used it as a footrest.
What was the result? She brought the damaged laptop to the school in September and was issued a new one, no questions asked, no payment expected from her....
Does this sound like a responsible use of school property by a school employee?
Additionally, students observe this behavior, response and treatment of property and responsibility and mimic it. A teacher is after all, a role model - just by the sheer amount of time the students spend with them.
So, while my kids are at school from 7:30 - 2:30 + later for activities every day, I spend the remaining hours discussing with them the perils of what they have learned. I am fortunate that my children are so open and communicative with me. At times, I feel like a warden who is pointing out right from wrong. But then I remember, that as a mother, that is my job. My goal is to make my children into decent people who are honest, self reliant and just.
One thing I firmly believe (that I know my girls are sick of hearing) is that when you stand for what you believe to be right, you may have to stand alone. I am strong enough to stand alone and I want my girls to be strong enough as well.