and the poor keep getting poorer. Today’s rant comes courtesy of Scholastic, that megaconglomerate of student book publishing.
Having just submitted a book order for my class (a rarity), I am struck by the advantages of working in a more middle-class socio economic school district. Yes, it is true no one is holding a gun to my head to teach in an urban school district where family finances are not so flush. Scholastic’s website is currently promoting online ordering for parents. Now that is indeed wonderful and saves the teacher (no parent volunteers) the work of balancing out an order before submitting it. I certainly don’t fault the more affluent the advantages of ordering online, but I do find the promotion from Scholastic — get a free classroom book for every submitted online order — a bit of a slap. The downside for a teacher who works with a disadvantaged population should be clear: parents without computers/internet connectivity (and there are many here) can’t do this. No online orders means no free books for a classroom that could dearly use them. Teachers like me, working in an urban environments where much of the classroom literacy library comes from the teacher’s own finances, cannot take advantage of such a perk. This aggravates me.
As I checked out of my Scholastic order, I noticed another banner promotion from Scholastic: schoolstop.com. Apparently through this website, teachers can post a list of supplies for a classroom and parents can choose to fulfill the list. And, for every fulfillment on the list, a teacher will receive more Scholastic Book Club Bonus Points (used for more free books and materials). Sounds great, doesn’t it? In a school district where my 2009-2010 supply budget was cut by 25% this year — and finances don’t look good for next year, getting donations from parents to cover the gap in the supply budget would be great — in fact getting a box of tissues would be super. However, parents who are struggling to keep food on the table and the rent up to date, are probably not in the frame of mind to donate supplies to their child’s classroom. Once again, my counterparts in more affluent communities get advantages that I can only wish for.
Yes, I know that there are other donation sites — and I’m already all over them. I just wish Scholastic with their monopoly and ensuing great big profits, might have had a little less of a middle-class mindset when promoting freebies for teachers — because many teachers will not be able to take advantage of these freebies. Believe me, I would greatly have appreciated more books for my class library and needed supplies that don’t come out of my personal funds.
Most of the time, I don’t get so irritated at the advantage-disadvantage thing. I know life isn’t fair. I just wish once in a while that there was a bit of equity between the haves and the have nots.