Two unrelated musings of the day

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    First musing: Parents, please do not send your young students to school with expensive electronics. I received an email last night from a mom whose daughter apparently brought in a 400$ FitBit thing, apparently wanting to wear it because it was a pretty trendy purple bracelet thing... and the student of course lost it. And no, I haven't seen it.

    Second musing: No-talking time is wonderful. Today was a rainy day full of indoor recesses and overly chatty children. I generally reserve no-talking for tests only, but this afternoon I still kept it up for a good half-hour after a test as the students delved into other projects. After I released the voices, the kids were all the calmer.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Additional musing: parents, please don't plead poverty that you can't afford $20 for a field trip (knowing that the school will pay) and then allow your student to bring their new $700 phone on the trip.
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sadly enough, in many cases the reason they can't afford the $20 for the field trip is exactly because of the $700 phone.
     
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  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I'll say it again...Common sense isn't so common anymore, is it?
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is true. They can't pay the 20 dollars for a field trip because they have a phone that gives them access to the on-line world which is what makes everything run these days.

    Many poor people have items that are expensive because people are judged by what they have instead of the content of their characters. So, they will manage to get expensive things at the expense of others. A well-equipped phone will give them access to the internet when they don't have easy computer access or any computer access. They have that access every day whereas the 20 field trip is a few hours and if we are to be honest, its payoff isn't that great. A trip to the zoo when that phone (or teacher created lessons using videos and other information) can give the students the same information is less time and for free. Sure field trips are fun and there is an aspect that a student won't get in the classroom, but their phone gives them access every day and some status.

    Most of society look at the poor with distain and judgment. Things help them appear less poor and thus receive less critical judgment.

    So, yes. They could afford the 20 dollar field trip the school decides to include in the "free" public education, but even if most poor cut all of their "frills" it would never dig them out of poverty.
     
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  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You need a $700 phone to get out of poverty? One of the ways Rockhubby and I STAYED out of poverty when he lost his job was to use minimal phones ($75 a month for two phones that call and text) and cut our cable to Internet only (only $50 a month) on our laptops (which are refurbished). We've kept this now that we're both employed because, frankly, it's all we need.

    Trust me, I know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck and chose which bills to pay. Education is paramount, which is why I stayed in graduate school, and why those field trips are worth keeping in the budget. It's also why I keep a cookbook with inexpensive meals in my classroom.
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    You know this and I know this; however, many in poverty (not all or even, probably, a decent majority) don't. I don't think a2z even suggested expensive phones were the ticket out of poverty, merely they happened to be more valued to some.

    It's frustrating when families will pick what we deem to be luxuries over basic necessities, but ultimately there's not much we can do about it beyond making our personal/professional boundaries.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I didn't say that.
     
  10. gr3teacher

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    I feel like the number of people who actually pay out of pocket for a phone is pretty minimal, besides. I have a $700 phone in my hand right now, and the day I bought it, I gave the cashier nothing but a smile, handshake and a signature. It was rolled into my contract, which I'd need to have, regardless (and getting this phone and changing my contract terms actually lowered my monthly bill, so...)
     
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  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I need that contract....
     
  12. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    A word on the phone. Yes, I do agree that it can be the access that so many need; however, I have seen far too many students who will not use their phones for that purpose. They don't care to learn how to or can't be bothered. Poverty is a terrible thing--but I do not believe that if you honestly try you cannot rise above. What has always bothered me about generational poverty is the fact that people don't seem to want their children or grandchildren to do better. If you are not doing well-you should know why--lack of education, loss of job, debt, choices--whatever that is. Shouldn't you teach your child those things.

    And what gr3teacher said is true--maybe it shouldn't be so easy to walk out with an item like that. If we made them pay for it upfront--maybe they would spend the money differently.
     
  13. gr3teacher

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    It was nothing particularly special, I was just two years overdue for a new phone,and going from an unlimited data plan to a monthly data plan more than made up for incorporating the cost of the phone into the contract. Plus the discount for my district that they didn't offer last time I signed a contract but did offer now.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    And if we made people pay up front for their homes, we wouldn't have people buying houses they can't afford.

    Seems as if we can apply that attitude to everything and everyone and many poor decisions would go away. I do believe we would see a much different society with different problems.
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    And the whole "pay up front" thing doesn't necessarily fix the root of the money unawareness problem. So... we have people with bad finance skills paying for luxuries instead of necessities upfront. They paid up front and they still have financial issues and few of the basics. Problem unsolved.
     
  16. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    I guess I just don't understand the appearances thing. I had a flip phone up until six months ago when I finally lost it. I got my husband's hand-me-down. I have a 16 year old car with 315,000 miles on it. We bought a small house that we can afford. It is suits our needs, is easy to take care of, and will be paid off before we retire. I shop at discount stores. My nicest jewelry is my wedding ring. I have lived on rice and beans, and I have been very poor--But I do spend money on things that I deem valuable--education and travel. I don't care what people think of me--I know who I am and what I'm worth. I don't need a $700 to tell me that.
     
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  17. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I never question how someone may have gotten an item that they have. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe they won a contest. Maybe they saved and saved specifically for that item to give their child something special. It's really none of my business.

    The bank that I bank with has some cool programs aimed at first-generation bankers. Often when I go in to do business, there will be a grandfather in there with a grandson opening a bank account. They are so proud to part of a real bank. The bank offers free workshops about money management. Unfortunately, in my area there are still many older minorities who are distrustful of banks, refuse to use them, and have passed those attitudes on to their families. It makes it hard for these families to qualify for credit or financing, or even to cash a paycheck. It's a huge barrier to financial success that many people do not even consider.
     
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    This. I have to keep pushing myself back to, as an educator, assuming the best intentions, unless I have explicit proof otherwise. That goes for both working with students academically, as well as these situations. Even if I was 100% sure, as MissCeliaB said, it's not necessarily my business (especially considering it could be a myriad of possible situations) unless it is affecting others on top of my having proof. I think we also have to be careful, in all situations, to judge the value of certain items or events for certain people.
     
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  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    It's so difficult to just keep our nose out of it. The best thing we can do is not let it affect us as educators. We are the teachers. Our job is to provide the educational opportunity. We're not in charge of these family's finances, values, purchases, etc. Of course this means we are free to set boundaries (we aren't personally responsible for paying out of our own pockets for things they need whether or not they have a pricey gadget). It's not our place to tell them how to spend their money, but merely set and enforce the consequences for not having such-n-such... even if that means no field trip or what have you.

    I'm sure we're free to wonder and even consider our personal values on such things. But we're crossing a line when we get overinvolved in pushing values.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I've always been against public schools charging for field trips.

    If a student who is not ill skips school, people are upset because they miss what is taught that day. By having the educational experience for the day in the form of a field trip and making attendance contingent on paying for that day's educational experience, it puts those who don't qualify for FRL but are tight on finances in a pickle. If they don't have the money they miss the educational experience that is so important it needs a field trip that anyone not on FRL has to pay. If the experience is that beneficial, no family should have to pay for it nor should the wealthier families have to pay an increased cost to cover those on FRL as has been suggested in my school. The fact that payment is required produces a situation that says if you don't have the money or want to pay the money it is ok to skip education for that day and suffer the consequence of missing the trip, standing out, and apparently not learning the information for the day.
     
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  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    It's a field trip, not a vacation. I had never heard of charging students on field trips before this forum.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is commonplace here to charge. If you go to a place that doesn't charge entry they are charging for the use of the busses to transport the children to the field trip and back. Some field trips have a cost associated and are all day events on charter busses to far away locations. They run over sixty dollars or more plus food for the kids if they don't bring their own or if there is a lunch addition at a particular place. Most run about 10 - 25 dollars.

    I've never seen a free one except for the kindergarten one where they walked around the block. Even the one to the local park had a "cookout" associated with it which required every family to donate a food/drink/paper product.

    Charging has gone on for decades here.
     
  23. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Almost every school I've taught in (between full-time and subbing) has had field trips requiring payment. Usually no more than 1 a year per grade, though sometimes more, and sometimes they are no cost. In some of the lower socioeconomic status schools, they'd often do some kind of fundraising together to help lower the overall cost. One Title 1 school is doing a book fair next week, run by fourth graders, to help pay for the fifth grade big multi-day trip.
     
  24. gr3teacher

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    Our PTA covers the bus cost for one field trip (and since we almost always do one no entry fee field trip, we make that a completely free one). The third grade team also always does an economics fair/market at the beginning of the year that raises around $500... that goes with the class up through sixth grade, and is used to cover field trip costs for students that can't afford it.
     
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  25. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I never went on field trip in elem school that was more than like $6... And that was to a zoo. To me $6 is like a coffee or 2 if you go to a coffee shop.

    I did go on one in high school we went to Chicago for the day to see to plays. We did fund raisers for that. Since I was from a small school half of my classes were going... I went. So glad I did... A trip I will never forget... Phantom & Donnie Osmond as Joseph!!!
     
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  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Wow! This is all news to me. I just thought schools just had field trip budgets.
     
  27. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    That is past history, unfortunately. Nowadays, schools don't have budgets for field trips, supplies, even textbooks or technology.
     
  28. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Not true! My district is trying to push through a 1-to-1 initiative for next year! And in completely, totally unrelated news, my district is facing a $50 million shortfall for next year which will almost certainly result in the loss of teachers, a salary freeze, and program cuts!
     
  29. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Now this is where I have questions. I like technology all right, but is the perk of the 1-to-1 going to replace or trump decent, secure teachers and program cuts?
     
  30. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think I'll hang out in my little school, plug my ears to all this horrid news and sing Kumbuyah. And at least count my blessings.

    Then again, I've never been in a school that wasn't Title I, so perhaps I'm just with administrators who cram such money into field trip budgets.
     
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  31. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Short answer... Absolutely not. Even speaking as a fairly highly tech-integrated teacher, I think of anything that kids spend too much time staring at screens. I'd rather have less screen time, more book, pencil and paper time.

    Plus... My district is thinking of BUYING the stuff, not TRAINING on any of it.
     
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  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    1. Our grade 2s, 4s, and 7s have a free field trip to an Outdoor Ed Centre. Because it is affiliated with our board, and staffed by teachers, all costs associated with the trip are covered. All other trips have at least a minimal cost to cover the cost of buses. Families with financial need can get the cost of the trip subsidized.
     
  33. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My school is Title 1 and we don't have a dedicated field trip budget. Our grade level is given a small budget for our use. We can either use the entire budget for one field trip and even then we'd still probably have to charge one or two dollars a child to make up the difference. If we used our budget on a field trip, we'd have to buy copy paper, classroom materials, and manipulatives with our own money. We usually have to supplement and spend our own money anyway since the budget isn't enough as it is.

    We write two to four grants each year for field trips. This year, only one grant was funded so we are only taking one trip. The kids won't have to pay anything.

    We do set up science and social studies days where each teacher has a hands on activity, or volunteers come in to present something related to our theme and the kids rotate to all the stations. That's not as good as a field trip but it does give us a chance to do some activities that we normally couldn't do.
     
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  34. TeacherNY

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    So the taxpayers pick up the slack because parents put wants before needs? There is no excuse. These people are used to using every excuse in the book and it's really irritating and pathetic. No sob story is going to change my mind.
     
  35. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    A cell phone in 2016 isn't a "want," and a field trip isn't a "need."
     
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  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Probably because I come from an older generation, but I don't believe a cell phone is a necessity. Sure, it does make life easier, but it belongs to a generation that wants immediate gratification. It especially isn't necessary for a child.
     
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  37. TeacherNY

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    So if a parent was told Suzy can't go on the trip if she doesn't pay the $10 would the parent say that's ok she doesn't need to go anyway?
     
  38. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It really is necessary today. Not necessarily for kids (although I can certainly think of situations where a kid would need a cell phone... latchkey kids being the easiest example), but good luck to somebody trying to get or keep a job without a reliable phone of some sort, to say nothing of internet access. Cell phones are often the cheapest way of getting those, and depending on the provider, you can add on a second line for free, at which point it would be kind of silly not to get the second one.

    If a parent doesn't have the money, what else should they say?
     
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  39. teacherintexas

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    I agree with a qualifier attached. I don't think the top of the line cell phone is a need, but I do think it's expected that everyone have a way to communicate immediately these days. Even older generation smart phones are free these days with a contract. Getting the newest version of a smart phone would qualify as a want in my book.
     
  40. TeacherNY

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    The parent could argue that Suzy NEEDS to be included in the trip and the school should pay for it. Instead of taking responsibility and providing for their child. Obviously some needs aren't life or death but I do agree with teacherintexas in the "qualifier" aspect.
     
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  41. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The parent using the term need doesn't necessarily mean it is a need just like you are all arguing that a cell phone is not a need even though others see it to be one.

    So, why is a field trip a need? Field trips are usually designed around things that are geographically and financially within reach of the school (with an up charge for parents in some cases). The rest of the state or country doesn't get that same "needed" field trip. So, why is the field trip a need?
     

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