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Volunteerism, Fundraising And The New Politics Of The PTA

While reading the New York Times Motherlode blog the other day, I was struck by a piece about current trends in American education. Apparently, many...

While reading the New York Times Motherlode blog the other day, I was struck by a piece about current trends in American education. Apparently, many public school districts in the United States are increasingly turning to parents in order to cover budgetary shortfalls.

In some cases, it’s the parent-teacher associations that are spearheading the movement to make up for things like teacher’s salaries and supplies when school boards can’t. In other cases, schools are making direct appeals to parents for monetary contributions, sometimes making them mandatory.

There’s a lot to say about this trend toward parent-funded public education in the United States: Is it appropriate? Is it enough? And — as many commenters on the Times post wondered aloud — what do you do in school districts where parents can’t afford or don’t have time for this sort of fundraising?

But as an American parent who’s lived abroad for nearly four years with two school-age children, what most caught my eye about this story is how utterly inconceivable it would be in the U.K., where I reside. I’ve done a ton of fundraising for my daughter’s school over the past four years. And it’s been an incredible eye-opener for me about the depths of cross-cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K. on this front.
Read the rest of this story at www.PoliticsDaily.com

Image: 207/365 by ladybugbkt via Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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    • delialloyd May 26, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      these are great, shelley, and really enlightening. glad to see someone else is noticing the same things that I am!

  1. Daryl Boylan May 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Whatever the vagaries of parent fund-raising, the bottom line is the value a society attaches to the education of all children, not just our own. Public (US sense)education in both countries is chronically underfunded; just compare prices in both of public/state & private schools. And in a depressed economy, we can always depend on the former to take a disproportionate hit. On a complementary issue, check out education historian Diane Ravitch: “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”
    When will “have” parents demand quality schooling for all and use their political weight to push hard enough to get it?

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