Saturday, December 18, 2010

parity and the poster boy

He used half the tape and a mess of staples, the boy trying to put together a poster for a class project. His posterboard is a squashed box pummelled to an unruly flatness and over it he has taped sheets and sheets of old flyers from our scrap paper box, taped together in the haphazard way only a ten year old boy can manage.
I can only imagine the remarks of the other children when he hands in his poster board project. This is not the first of its kind. I have mooched old box parts from our custodians for similar fixes.
Teachers - do you know not every parent will run out to the local stationary store and buy posterboard? Or the trifold posters - they cost up to twelve bucks or more of big foamy board pieces to display a few sheets of paper about a project. Not green at all either.
Schools - when you ask children for these outside of school purchases, when you assemble your ginormous school needs list in September, when you insist any child provide something besides himself at the school, you are setting some members of the community up for failure. Poor children cannot buy posterboards, fancy notebooks, special calculators and the like.
The little girl telling me sadly last year that the reason she was at the library and not at school was there was a class trip and her mother couldn't afford it - and she was too embarrassed to go to school and be placed in a different classroom (for those who didn't go).
Forget the big fundraisers for three day trips to some amusement park or the pricey D.J. you hire for a dance or whatever else...raise the money for the trips to museums etc. but only hold the trips if EVERYONE CAN GO. Kids do not need fancy notebooks in different colors to learn. They need a pencil, some paper, and a good teacher. Stop assigning mandatory computer homework to those who don't have internet access. Are you aware many of them cannot make it to the library as their parents both work long long hours?
I will never forget the kindergarten teacher who remarked to me at the end of the year that it was sad to see the kids who didn't get the milk and cookies at snack watch the others. I was sending in the requested 75 cents or so a week for milk and cookies snack. I looked at her - do you mean there are children who have no snack and have to watch the others snack? Well, yes, she said. Mind you, this was the end of the school year - and why hadn't she told us this in September? She thought we knew. Every mom in that school I knew did NOT know and we would have gladly taken turns baking cookies, paying for milk and juice for EVERYONE, not just a select few. In all the fuss raised about schools and the need for change that is going about lately - address the disparity between the have and have-nots. If one child gets something, EVERY CHILD GETS SOMETHING. We are all in this global family together, we better start acting like it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kudos to the great kid at the library..

After helping him get some books on tying knots - for practice, he told me, so he could get his boy scout badge, he thanked me and added "you're a really good librarian and you have nice hair."