Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Summer Ends on August 5th

Back to school for the kiddies in this school district today!

California has a budget crisis, you know. You may have heard news anchors screaming this fact at the top of their shrill and artificial voices, as though their networks and stations had no brains at all for good sound equipment. "Let's scream," News-Shouters, are told, "that way the television audience can't turn away and have a normal conversation in the room. Everybody pitch their voices high and turn the volume up loud so that we sound soooooooo important!!"

Not intelligent, just important.

What many are screaming about these days are cuts to California's budget. And especially screamsome is the idea of cutting funds to education. "If you cut the funding to this school's sports swim program, my kid is gonna suffer irreparable damage to his self-esteem! If you cut funding to this elementary school, we won't be able to afford Award Assemblies every month!"

Cut me a break, will you? If you want sports programs for your kid, pay for them out of your pocket, not out of the government's till. School is supposed to be for education -- so that children can learn reading and math and know where France is and that English is actually spoken outside of California.

Last mid-May, Lillian came home from school triumphantly shouting that there was no homework for the rest of the year, because everything had been covered that needed to be covered. The school year still ran through the first week in June.

"Well," the explanation ran, "the kids who know the stuff are done, but we can use the extra three weeks to help the kids who need to review."

What? Isn't that "summer school," which ran through the hot months anyway? Why, then, all the squealing and hair-tearing about the budget crisis cutting 7 days from the school year, if 15 days could be devoted to Pajama Day, and Opposite Day, and the ever-popular Last Day of School When Everybody Plays Outside and Parents Provide Cupcakes?

Oh, and by the way, let's send the kids back to the school buildings the first week of August. Running air conditioning round the clock in the hot part of the year really makes sense when you're strapped for money, especially when average temperatures in the afternoon are in the mid-nineties.

Supposedly this makes sense, to have more days of school at climatically stressed times of year. Of course it makes more sense to have the kids have extra days off in October, when the air is filthy with almond dust and the evenings are too cold to play outside, or extra days in December when the fog socks in and nothing warms you up and there's no time to play outside because it's dark so early, or in the early spring when it's raining and chilly. Of course we should rejoice to send the kids to school when they could be playing in the swimming pools and sprinklers in the heat of the day. Of course. How could I be so stupid not to think that kids would rather huddle indoors than play in summer?

Should I (or the state government) voice this opinion at a Parent and Teacher Interaction Shtick, I (or the state government) would immediately be trussed for burning at the stake, with opponents clutching their hair or bosoms and crying, "Why are you trying to abuse our children?"

Well, we're not, dumbasses. Maybe some of us think that there's a little too much wastage in the "school" system, that's all. Like, why are tax dollars being spent on sports programs? If they're so important for school income, then why are there VOLUNTEER food concessions? To pay for WHAT? A hot dog stand doesn't pay for much. Cut the sports, just do physical education.

Oh, I mentioned that before, didn't I.

Let me say this one more time, cut the sports programs and the "special days" and focus on education. There will be enough money to go around.


Tweetywill said...

Sand, you are the best! How about the PTA, whose sole purpose, near as I can tell is to extort money from me via my kids so that they can send around newsletters bragging how much money they have raised so far this year to pay for... wait for it... more playground balls! Hooray! No lie, one time we went to see a "special presentation" of a magic show after school. And before the show started, THE PTA HELD A MEETING. Yep, they tricked us into the gym and then trapped us there and made us vote to ratify the budget for the next year.
No wonder home schooling is sounding better all the time...

Lydia Manx said...

I need to have this rant in print form. Can you send to me please??

Hugs, La