Public school isn’t free

In case you were wondering.

Oh no. It’s not free at all. It’s actually astonishing just how much they push these kids toward this idea of getting mom and dad to spend money.

Oh, it’s always for a good cause. Or for a good charity. Or for the benefit of the school. Or any other such thing.

But it’s still all about money.

Less than a month since my 4 year old started Junior Kindergarten, we are invited to the open house.

I asked Benjamin if he knew what an open house was. I wondered what, if anything, the teacher might have mentioned to the kids.

Benjamin said “oh yes, the open house is when we go shopping for books in the library”.


I realized later that he meant the book fair hosted by Scholastic. He brought home a “wish list” where he was encouraged to “shop” for books and have the teacher send the list home to the parents so that the parents “can decided” whether to purchase the books on the wish list, or not. It’s totally the parents’ ultimate decision, of course. No pressure. They’re just helping along with the decision making.

The majority of books in the advertisement attached to the wish list were, according to my own humble opinion, crap. Really. A lot of it was Nickelodeon advertisement. The book Ben picked wasn’t on their ad, but it’s a title I recognized. He had taken that book out of the library once or twice before. I see no reason to pick up this book for $4.50 no matter how good a deal it is.

Encouraging small children to shop for books in a school library, getting them to push the parents to purchase those books for them, and then feeling like they have done good because they have succeeded in getting a child “interested in books”, and then letting the parents be the “bad guy” for not agreeing to purchase said books, is just not what I have envisioned public school to be like.

Especially not in the Junior Kindergarten scene.


2 thoughts on “Public school isn’t free

  1. Oh, you talk about german schools? Die Schule oder Kindergarten weckt Erwartungen, die wir Eltern dann erfüllen müssen. Last week the Kindergarden wanted to offer a breakfast for the kids. Good idea, I thought. BUT: it was not from the Kindergarden that they offered the breakfast things, oh no. The parents had to bring all the stuff. But the Kindergarden can be proud of its engagement! And I had to go to the supermarket in the late evening to buy this shit appeljuice.

  2. My favorite is when they ask the kids first, if and where they want to go for a class trip. I am not talking about a day trip to the zoo or museum. I am talking “leave town for a week please fork over 250 smackeroos”.

    Then the pitch to the parents: we have decided… yak, yak, yak… oh, and we also decided that there is a limit to the amount of pocket money the kids can take on the trip — it is 20 smackeroos (did I mention that the trip is actually all-inclusive… so what on earth does my kid need 20 bucks for a week on class trip? My kids don’t even have that kind of cash on a normal week…)

    I could go on…

    and on…

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