Two unrelated musings of the day

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

  1. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It's not a need (unless there's a test related to the field trip when returning or some other graded activity). I said the parent would justify it as a need so that the school would HAVE to pay for it. Students also "need" school supplies but parents say they "can't afford them" so the school (or unfortunately sometimes the teacher) end up buying them. I can't obviously win here but I know SOME people know what I'm talking about.
     
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  2. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    To me, that comes down to what the supplies are. If a parent claims poverty to avoid buying pencils and paper, I don't have much sympathy for the parent. If they claim poverty to avoid buying five notebooks, five binders, a stapler, a TI-83 calculator, and..., then I have a lot of sympathy for the parent.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I have such conflicting feelings on school supplies and who should buy them and have yet to reach any personal conviction.

    The U.S. provides a public education. We call it "free", though it's a fair argument it's paid for by the taxpayers. Society as a whole tends to benefit from an educated population, but how much should we be paying into education? Should that fund just the facilities and teachers and basic necessities to whatever extent, and then have those families who are actually using public education pay a little bit more in way of supplies? Should we say "hey, everyone is already paying for the education system, let's have it cover everything!" and charge a bit more to those not using the system?

    I strongly believe it's not fair to have the teachers pay for it out of their own pockets, but the rest is a grey area as far as my views go. I can see both arguments.

    As for a cellphone... no kid needs a top of the line cell phone, though I do agree that in this day and age the efficiency and comparative cost effectiveness of cell phones outweighs the "cheapness" of a landline.

    But to go back to the original complaint, no, no kid needs to be having a personal ultra fancy phone and arguing they can't pay for the field trip.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Actually you said the parent "could" not "would" which really didn't answer gr3's question what "should" the parent say if they don't have the money.

    As for the "need" being determined whether or not the teacher had a test/quiz/assignment or grade to the field trip is not really a justification of need. All of those things were decisions by the school/teacher as a way for the student to learn about the information and be assessed. There is no state or federal requirement that I am aware of that states specific standards, or any standards for that matter, must be learned by a field trip which has an assessment attached.

    Again I ask, why is a field trip a need?
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I've asked my mother what she used to have to bring to public school. She said a pencil and ONE notebook. Everything else was provided by the schools. Scratch paper, crayons, etc were all supplied by the school. Now the lists are long and specific in the case of some schools or grades within a school. Heck, they even want kids to bring zip lock bags. In HS they want 150.00 calculators. In elementary school one grade specified the type of binder the kids were required to have and it wasn't the cheap ones.

    Most parents complied not because they felt the items were really needed but they were concerned about the attitude that would be taken with their children if they didn't comply. Some parents did just ignore it all out of protest because it really got ridiculous.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yep. You should see the lists that teachers at my school send home as "wish lists", which teachers expect to be filled. Specific color notebooks for different subjects, colored pencils, markers, and crayons...etc.

    I get dirty looks when I send home a list with only kleenex. We are given a $250 supply budget which I use first before any request for donated items.
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My personal complaint is that our supply lists are generated as grades. I would happily make do with much less stuff rather than all the crap the rest of the team needs. And yes, I hate having to find ways to "be creative" and use the stuff brought in.

    I want to make my own list. Can't there be a list for "Mrs. Backroads' class"?
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, you should be able to have your own list. Where I work there has been a push in education that everyone in a grade level is on the same page. Teaching the same thing at very similar times, same supplies, same procedures, same formative assessments(CFAs), switching students for intervention/enrichment, etc.

    Most grade levels in my school have grade level lists. My grade level started out making a list together, about 5 items in I announced I am going to modify my list, but I think it is great you guys have a list together. I have $250 that I will spend first, then request from the parent club, and then send a request home to parents.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    That wouldn't work for us because class lists aren't finalized until a week before students arrive. There's a reasonably high level of transience, and if class lists were published early, there'd be potential for one teacher to get screwed over.
     
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  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Out of curiosity, what is a reasonably high level of transience look like?

    Out of a class of 30 students at the start of the year, how many on average are the same students at the end of the year?
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Teacher assignments aren't give to students until a week before school here. That is also when student's families get their lists of required items.
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What does the class list have to do with the required items to for the students? Transient or not, unless you mean that one year a teacher will have 28 students and another year they would have 20, I don't see why finalized class lists come into play with the buy list for the parents. I do see how it might impact the teacher who is using the budget to purchase notebooks, pencils, and other items.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It depends from year to year and school to school. In the program I teach in, usually there are 75 third graders enrolled two weeks before school, and 75 enrolled a week before school (the cut-off), but 15 of those kids have changed. Typically only one or two leave then throughout the year. For the school as a whole, the average is three student changes per year. There are schools in the district though (class placement letters go through the district, not the school) with turnover of close to 50% during the year, and late August tends to be a busy turnover period (since people are signing leases from September 1 to September 1).
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If I published a supply list, and my neighbor teacher published a different supply list, and then a week before school starts, a student gets shifted from one classroom to another, that would be a problem for the parent. And all parents would be livid if they had to wait until a week before school, because they would have missed prime back to school shopping time.
     
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  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I do understand the practicality of having single lists for each grade as far as the school goes but...

    I have pencils from three years ago, enough Clorox wipes to clean a hospital (and I'm a bit of a germ freak so we wipe down stuff a few times a week), and what are second graders supposed to do with five notebooks?

    And the ziplock bags... what the heck am I supposed to do with those?
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Could you offer your extra supplies to your teammates that use more of those supplies, and in return cut your supply list in half for a year?
     
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  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    And... yeah... I've never understood the need for so many stinking ziplock bags. One year of kids bringing them in, and I'm relatively sure I'll be able to give some to whoever replaces me when I retire.
     
  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Our supply list does not go home until back to school night, that is the Thursday before school starts. I am sure some parents complain about not having the lists sooner, but I have not heard of any in our grade level.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I understand it perfectly well. Each teacher has their preferred methods, all the more reason to allow individual teachers to choose the supplies they actually need and use.
     
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  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But didn't you just say 150 students register within two weeks of the start of school? Or did I misunderstand you explanation. How many third graders are there at your school?
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My explanation was unclear. Two weeks before school, there are about 75 kiddos registered for my program typically. A week before school, there's usually still about 75 kiddos registered, except 7-8 kids would have dropped to stay at their base school, and 7-8 kids that previously were planning on staying at their base school would have enrolled. Any change in enrollment for my specific program is from parents just making a decision to change, not moving.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    14 x 40 = 560 gallon ziploc bags
    14 x 40 = 560 quart size ziploc bags

    Now multiply that by 36 classrooms. That is enough plastic to wrap the entire school! That's over 40,000 ziploc bags per year. Even if they only wanted the 20 count, that is 20,000 ziploc bags.
    Me thinks that some teachers don't like to buy their own ziploc bags for home use.
     
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  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    They would adjust to the change. They might be even happier to find that the list required was half the size and not as specific. It might actually bring about a big change in the lists of all teachers when parents start to question why Mrs. Jones wants 150.00 worth of supplies and enough ziplocs to stock her kitchen and enough Clorox wipes to clean her house for a year and Mr. Smith just wants some pencils and notebooks. I suspect that the main reason my local school does not have individual teacher lists until HS is that administration doesn't want to have to answer those questions. It might be a difficult conversation to have when they say, I don't know why Mrs. Jones needs over a thousand ziploc bags.
     
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  24. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Ziplock bag uses:
    Lost teeth during the school day
    Lunch money when parents send in a $5 bill for Suzy's lunch
    Center games
    Student paper manipulative sets (ex fraction pieces, shape sets, number cards)
    Hat day money collection
    Sending leftover treats home from Christmas and Valentine parties (Bonby didn't finish his cookie, but wants to take it on the bus.)

    These are just some of the things I use mine for. Granted, at my school PTO provides $20 per student to each teacher, and the teacher buts all needed supplies for the classroom. I do spend quite a bit of money on bags though!
     
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  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    In my mind, a simple and short list with the essentials specific to the classroom is a much easier route than some giant generic list for the whole grade. Easier to shop for, all the less complaining.
     
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  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Bad teacher story:

    At my first school... the stupid grade list required the stupid bags. I had no idea what to use them for. My head teacher didn't know what to do with them... she just said that was how it has always been.

    So... I left that school, did another non-teaching job, and I did something bad and took the ancient boxes of baggies with me. I still had a few boxes well into my marriage a couple of years after.
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I want to make an infographic of this information. Wow.
     
  28. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Transient students are a major reality in my school. I started the year with about 105 students, GAINED over 100 students, then dropped over 70. 78% of my students are considered economically disadvantaged. Many of them don't have any kind of phone, let alone an expensive one (we supply their internet connections and I've advocated for years that we should also supply a Magic Jack account).

    Several students are double-up homeless, and two that are living in RVs on the property of relatives. Since we are distance-learning, we don't supply those lunches I wish we could, which is why I have a really good low-budget cookbook available in my Help Sites folder for my students.

    That being said, if a student wants to come to a school field trip, we will pay for that student, one parent, and one guest. We try to give them as many opportunities as possible to be KIDS.
     
  29. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Definitely ideal, but it all depends on your building. Some will require that all grade levels give the same one, for better or for worse. We set it by grade here.

    To play devil's advocate, it seems as though there could be some perception issues - one parent talking to another parent and realizing one spent $25 more than the other due to different lists. Not too likely, but possible.
    (I love what one district in our state did - basically said to bring their backpack to school, and that the rest of the materials would be there for them...and made this a district-wide decision)
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Math. It's amazing.
     
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  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I suppose I could spread out the supplies I already have one hand and see if that will lead to my team wanting a smaller list.

    I just hate the idea of telling parents to buy things that aren't going to be used.
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I know that the discussion has moved on to Ziploc baggies and whatnot, but I do think that field trips are a need, especially in low-SES areas. Even so, I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect parents to pay nominal fees associated with field trips. I also think that it's fair to expect parents to provide most standard school supplies, at least the items used directly by the child himself.
     
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  33. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have to agree with Caesar. I once worked in a small town in another state. That small town was 30 miles from the big city (think museums, zoo, etc.) I had 34 children in my class of 35 who had never been out of that small town. So, yes, I planned field trips so my kids could experience life outside their tiny community.
     
  34. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree with the field trips. They ought to be more than a mini-vacation. I'm up for leaving students behind if they don't meet whatever basic requirements, but they ought to be had. I teach in a decent-size city, but again, lots of poverty. We try to pick field trips that get them out of the city.
     
  35. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The smartphone part of me makes me think of recent requests for a "technology party". I know they're a popular thing to do now for a reward, but I refuse to do them in my classroom. Half the class have families who can't afford some handheld entertainment device for the child to bring in and I can't spread out enough school materials for a mere party.
     
  36. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I wish I could remember whether my elementary / middle school paid for all or at least part of our field trips. My elementary school was Title I and many of my friends had subsidized lunches, so help on things like our 6th grade trip to NYC was something I probably took for granted. Middle school had far fewer trips, and the culture shock of learning aside kids who could afford Guess jeans (always wanted, never got) and Swatches (got one eventually in high school and loved it) made me wary to be out in the world in my second hand clothes from much taller relatives.

    No field trips in high school except for extracurriculars like my show choir.
     

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