I had the pleasure of taking part in a charity function for a local elementary school. It’s not the first time I participated in such a function. Ideba gives regularly to local school-based charities, and employees also volunteer time to those causes. Of course, it is heartening to help a school that’s educating children. However, I can’t help feeling, at every event, that I shouldn’t be there—that none of the participants should—that the charity itself should not exist.
These fundraisers do not exist to provide children with “extras.” They’re not raising funds for a cool field trip or snazzy new gym equipment. They raise funds for paper, pencils, crayons, notepads—for the necessities—necessities that our schools do not provide. That’s why I wish these charities did not exist. I believe schools should provide the necessities without charitable giving.
Americans love to talk about education. We just hate paying for it, or ensuring that the money we do pay goes where it does the most good—excellent teachers and excellent tools. The U.S. is in the upper tier of per-student spending when compared to other industrialized countries. Some, like Japan, spend considerably less yet out perform us in math, reading and science. Experts and academics can argue for days about what we’re doing right and wrong, where we succeed and where we fall down. You get as many opposite prescriptions as you do opinions.
I just know that if feels a little… off to be raising funds to provide children with crayons to draw with in school. It feels both good and strange that we take part in these fundraisers in a spirit of good cheer. Perhaps we should let a little bit—just a bit—of outrage creep in.
–Leonce Gaiter, Vice President, Content and Strategy