So Cressy, my seven year old daughter, goes to elementary school. No big. She's in 2nd grade. All is good, right?
Wrong. Wrongness personified. Wrongity-wrong-wrong. Wrongenivity.
So what have I learned about the public school system since Cressy began attending? Why, I'll tell you. In excruciating detail, too.
They love to squeeze you for money. "Excuse me, we have needs, you have extra cash, give it to us. What's that you say? We already get your tax money and federal money and some other money that we don't want to talk about? Pshaw. Silly excuses. You're a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder if you don't hand over your wallet immediately." (Okay, I felt compelled to insert an odd homage to a classic movie. Go George Lucas. It doesn't have anything to do with the subject of the blog but WTF?)
Hmm. Public school asking for money. Okay, fine. I get it. Their budget is tight. Taxes are down. They want kids to do stuff that is fun. Parents might have some extra cash or whatnot. I get it. I really do.
But what do they do? They manipulate us via slyly using our children. I shall explain.
Last week, Cressy got off the bus and yelled, "I HAVE PICTURES!" She was referring to school pictures. The problem was that I had already gotten school pictures and paid for them. $45 for a package. (Certainly a fair deal for photographs even though we don't use all of them.) (No, I'm not complaining yet.)
So last week there was another package of photographs. This time not solicited from the school by me. (You see, they know Christmas is approaching and photographs of your beloved child are a favored gift to send to the 'rents and the laws. They know. They probably made up the rule. Hell, they probably giggled when they did it.)
I feel obliged to mention when I went to school in the olden days of yore (You know when we walked ten miles to school, uphill in the snow, with a backpack that weighed forty tons, both ways.) we only had one picture event a year in school. ONE!!!!! (It was so thrilling we nearly peed our pants but not me.)
Let me tell you what today's public school does. There's the fall photos. There's the spring photos. There's the group/class photo. This year we had a little brochure featuring your own child's art work. And once a month they send home a brochure for books for your child. Then two or three times there's a fund raiser for the PTO at Chuck E bleeping Cheese or Chick Fil A. They would also like you to contribute all of your soup labels, your little pink labels, and some other labels I've forgotten the name of, too. If you don't contribute labels, obviously you're a cheapskate of ginormous magnitude who's only buying generic. There's the holiday gift shop where they allow your child to make a list, so you'll feel really, really, really guilty if you don't send back a check with the conveniently aforementioned, pre-filled out list. There are movie nights, game nights, and a fair, all to raise money. Then there's a fun run, too. As a parent I'm encouraged to participate, volunteer, and send money. But also they remind my child to REMIND me, if I don't.
If I didn't have a steady income in the family I'm not sure how we could afford any of it.
And the sneaky part, well, there's several sneaky parts, but the sneakiest is involving your child. Not is the child encouraged to blab on you, but also to harangue you in case you...don't wanna contribute. (You utter swine.)
I shall explain some more for I'm in an explaining (complaining/moaning/wailing) mood.
They sent this additional package of photos home. (Actually they're magnets and laminated pictures from the 'fall' shot and ideal for sticking in your Christmas cards. It even says so on the package. Ideal for use as ornaments, gifts and as personal gift tags. The magnet ones says holiday magnets, great gifts and keepsakes. The unsaid portion says, "Hey, you, the tightwad starving writer, are you really going to send these unsolicited potential keepsakes back to the school with your only beloved child so that she will be mortally embarrassed for your penny-pinching ways? Are you really? Really?") Then they make sure they rub it into your child. (Cressy takes photographs of herself very seriously. I mean, she doesn't 'take' them but she has a vested interest. After all, they're of HER. Taking them back to school = Mom is a poopoo head.) Cressy held them up like they were a big game trophy. "LOOOOOOK, MA! PHOOOOOTOOOOGRAPHS!!!!!!"
And oh, don't forget they do the same thing with the fund raisers. For example, on Chuck E Farting Cheese night, they slap stickers on all the children, lest the manipulation not be forgotten. I'm pretty sure it goes like this: "Psst, kid, here's a sticker for Chuck E Cheese. Tell your parents you have to go because you're being graded and all the other kids will know if you're not there." Then they look around to make sure no one is watching them or using a local security camera and say menacingly, "We're watching you, little child." The stickers are good for ten tokens but also they're good for smashing it into your silly, miserly face, and questioning if you've really been supportive of the school this year.
Hahaha. Okay, I get wanting the money. But I dislike the child involvement tactic. The school sucks. I should just give them my freakin' bank account number and some withdrawal slips. And they're probably going to blackball me for complaining about it.