Posted: 25 October 2004
Over the past several years at the start of each new school year, I have written columns detailing the policies of a number of school systems where educators confiscate the school supplies of students in order to redistribute them along more communal lines as classroom administrators see fit.
Noting fewer and fewer signs of the practice in school supply lists at Wal-Mart, I figured either school officials had come to their senses by returning to a more individualistic approach to scholastic resource management, had grown tired of parents spurred on in part by my columns griping about this glorified form of socialism, or even worse, not informed parents of the crime before hand and quietly pilfered the goods from unsuspecting children unprepared to muster the courage necessary to defy teachers overstepping the bounds of their authority.
An email from my cousin confirmed my fears, prompting me to address this issue yet again and to bring to the attention of the reading public disturbing developments regarding this issue.
In her communication, my cousin notified me of the customary confiscation decree and of her frustration at being told its her responsibility to provide for everyone else's offspring as well as her own. But beyond the tragedy of the common workingman being browbeaten and shamed into alleviating the plight of the willfully indolent and just plain lazy was her revelation that funds raised in relation to this nonsense might not be being spent in the most prudent of manners.
Instead of having to endure hectic back to school sales in pursuit of classroom paraphernalia, parents could have surrendered $30.00 per child to endow educators to acquire the needed supplies. Instead of falling for this wily plea, my cousin decided to obtain the scholastic accoutrements on her own.
Much to her surprise, her grand total came to $35.00. The shock did not stem from the total exceeding the figure tabulated by the school system but from the fact she was buying for three children.
According to school system documentation, her shopping excursion should have cost her $90.00. It doesn't take an Ivy League PhD or Philadelphia lawyer to see that these degreed, credentialed, and certified educators apparently can't do simple arithmetic.
Those not having their skills of critical analysis dulled through over-exposure to public schools are left asking that, if parents can outfit their children for around twelve bucks apiece, what in the name of John Dewey is being done with the rest of the money? Either schools are getting hosed on school supply prices or its going for purposes other than those spelled out for parents in the memo to parents such as caviar (or at least pizza) in the teachers' lounge.
Usually soliciting money for one reason and using it for another is called fraud. In reference to the private sector, this constitutes criminal activity; when committed by certain government agencies venerated by social engineers such as public schools, it becomes a civic duty to turn our heads the other way and keep our mouths shut.
This farce is buttressed through the invocation of a number of arguments designed to titillate the seeds of collectivism strategically planted in the modern psyche. Those still bold enough to think for themselves in such matters daring to voice misgivings about such compulsory altruism are shamed by the powers that be with sob stories of how little school children will be denied an education should greedy citizens refuse to fulfill their civic obligation of outfitting every single whelp in their own child's class.
Such a claim in support of redistribution is about as faulty as the philosophical assumptions upon which these policies rest. Those snatching paper and pencils from one student to put in the hands of another in order to bask in the ecstasy that results from exercising arbitrary power over others assert these confiscatory policies are necessary since the so-called "underprivileged" can't afford classroom necessities.
Is that so? Of Black ghetto culture, Bill Cosby remarked how the same parents complaining about the price of Hooked On Phonics have little problem with buying $200 basketball shows for their rugrats. Likewise, if those living in welfare apartments and trailer parks can afford tattoos, gold teeth, and Nintendo sets, surely they can afford a pack of notebook paper for under a dollar and a pack of pencils for around the same price if they shop at Wal-Mart.
If things are that bad financially around the house, kids can scrounge around for secondhand stationary or freebies foraged from county fairs, fire department open houses, and other assorted municipal festivals. Contrary to the propaganda of the classroom Communists, children will not be irrevocably stunted if forced to use last year's notebook or pencil box; their development will be, however, if they come away with the impression it is their right to have the nicest possessions whether they have earned them or not.
The discrepancies between what my cousin paid and the amount demanded by Calvert County school officials speaks to one of those fundamental socioeconomic truths radical educators simply refuse to learn: that, of course, being that individuals and families are eminently more qualified to determine the proper distribution and allocation of resources than any petty bureaucrat or dimwitted schoolmarm. This is because, unlike the professional educator, the parent not only loves the child but must provide for the offspring from the family's own limited income. Educrats, on the other hand, have access to what these misguided statists misperceive as the inexhaustible revenue source of public tax funds, which they do not have much compunction to spend with the same care and prudence as the average mother.
Obviously, my cousin isn't the only one disturbed by these blatantly socialistic policies even if they cannot put their finger on these as such since such outright theft is an affront to commonsense and the natural order. When my cousin enunciated her surprise at the disparity in costs and the manner in which the supplies were to be divied up, the cashier was nearly as disgusted as my cousin. Perhaps it's about time parents and concerned citizens taught educators just who the students belong to and who it is that really supplies the needs of these pupils.
Copyright 2004 by Frederick Meekins