"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Patriot Paul Wheeler asks us to "Take A Look"

Some of you may remember Paul from a few of the protests. He likes to dress as a patriot. Here's his take on school spending and a question about who profits from the current system.

"Think back to school days about books. I'm told that we are one in only a handful of states that still has a book rental system. Here's how it works, according to 2 ladies in the office who have children in local schools. Every year children from kindergarten thru high school have to rent books by having their parents pay 99.00 per child at the beginning of the school term, starting in kindergarten (for supplies like scissors, glue, a workbook (usually mass photocopied pages from the teacher's book, crayons, etc.). As the student progresses, the fees get higher. These books are 'used' with binding broken, front or back cover missing, pages torn or missing or previously magic marker highlighted, and some books old, and an occasional new book. Books are given to each student at the beginning of each year, and most parents pay the beginning of the year or by December. There is no credit issued for any books returned at the end of the year. For students who lost a book or never returned them, their parents are billed and then turned over to a collection service.

Last night's news indicated a whopping 2000 young people are missing from school and have not been incorporated into any other learning system..just sitting at home or on the street. With 37,500 new residents into poverty, I'm wondering if there is a connection with the non ability to pay the basics of back to school necessities. Are any of these into early jobs just to support their home necessities, so their parents don't loose the home facing foreclosure? As much as we pay in taxes, with property owners bearing the brunt of school expenses, why is this shameful situation allowed to perpetuate year after year. With teachers producing students with below national average SAT scores in Indiana for reading, writing, and arithmetic, where has all our money really gone? ( and why would our school district budget over 30 million more $ than last year?

What were they thinking? What created that whopping increase that they cannot cover and have to borrow from a bond bank with an additional 1 million $ in interest due next year that property owners will be saddled with. And why is the cycle allowed to go on unchecked year after year. This dinosaur book rental system is a gravy train for someone. The schools would argue that they are saving us money, given the prospect of paying for new books every year. I'm not upset with used books, but I cannot understand a system that seems to defeat our children by making parents pay for something that our whopping taxes should cover. Does a 5 yr.old in kindergarten really use 99.00 worth of crayons for a xerox copy of a coloring book? If students are not benefiting from our tax money, then who is?"


Paul Wheeler


varangianguard said...

Textbook pricing and approvals have little or no public oversight.

It is a boon for the authors and the publishers who reap repeated bonuses for books during the three to five year cycle that each edition is used.

School systems and universities have absolutely no incentive to be responsive to fiscal restraint or content appropriateness until parents/students actually have the books in hand.

By then, contracts are signed and change can be time consuming and costly.

colonist said...

yes, publishers have to compete each year to sell their books to schools. There are question/answer sections at the end of each chapter, basically tests for students to take. In order for the students to not cheat or see the answer written by the previous student, they rotate the books each year, forcing a used book program, instead of handing out a fresh test designed and issued by the teacher. A lazy way to educate? The entire cycle feeds on complacency, costing our children a 2nd rate education, AND IT SHOWS!