They come slowly. in the first few days of school, that time when you’re super excited to see anything in your child’s folder, so you don’t really pay attention to what it’s asking.
We still need extra tissues, ziplock bags, pencils! We’d so appreciate any extra you have!!
So you send them in. You’ve got some extra. No problem.
And then, a few days go by, and you get the first fundraiser packet in the folder. Selling cookie dough, popcorn, donuts, magazines…whatever. And there’s a sweet note attached, saying that they don’t want the kids going door to door. But go ahead and ask family and friends! We’re trying to reach our class goal! And if you’re anything like me, you go to toss it. I’m happy to volunteer my time, (I’m a room mom) and send in extra supplies, but I draw the line at school fundraisers. Especially because I have more than one kid and that shit gets expensive.
But then I see it…the “incentive” all wrapped up with a pretty bow at the bottom of the saccharine letter. If your child sells five popcorns, cookies, hula hoops, balls of yarn…they get to go to a pizza party! (And the between the lines analysis reads like this: If your child doesn’t sell the minimum amount, they will not be invited. But there is a strong possibility everyone else in his class will, and he will be the only one sitting at his seat working on handwriting while the rest of his class gets a jelly donut.)
So I buy five unnecessary bags of jelly beans because I don’t want my son to be left out. This is annoying because now, when my other children reach school age, I will have more than one child who is put in this completely unfair, economic quandry. Five jelly bean bags = $12 x 3 kids = way too much money so my kids can eat donuts with their class.
And let’s not even get started with that bullshit peer pressure. What about families who can’t afford to pay these astronomical prices for one or two or three children? Or families who would rather put any extra money toward, I don’t know…a family night out? soccer fees? new shoes? Their kids are left out? I don’t know about you, but school fundraising is not in my monthly budget.
But wait, there’s more! That is not the only fundraiser! A few weeks go by, and now they’re asking for small donations to reach 100% class enrollment for the PTA…again with a party incentive for the class. And who wants their kid to be the only reason the class doesn’t get a party? So you send in the money.
And then it’s the holidays and there’s a class gift for the teachers. And then there’s teacher appreciation week and end of the year gifts and the book fair and before you know it, you’ve been asked for at least $150 per child. That is a lot. A lot. And I’m so so over it.
Now, before you start thinking I’m a sad little person with no generosity, I actually don’t mind helping the schools. I’m happy to volunteer my time. I enjoy getting little gifts for the teachers at the holidays or end of the year. But I don’t want to be constantly pressured to participate in fundraisers. Send them home…great. But please do away with these manipulative “prizes” that really just guilt the parents into participating. It isn’t teaching the kids anything except the fact that if their parents pay for it, they get a prize.
That cannot be the goal. It just can’t.
I wish I could say I’m out…that I’m not participating.
But then my kid can’t can’t go to the party.
And that’s just not fair.
Funny how these things work out, isn’t it? What a perfect little system.