McKinley Challenges BoE Candidates to Foamy Fundraiser - Sat. 8/28

Hi John and Ben,

  Thanks for the invitation, it sounds like fun! Even though I have my doubts about whether government schools can be much improved by simply putting more money into the existing model, I might find it hard to resist coming out, stripping down, and getting soapy for your event. However it so happens I will be out of town on the 28th. Nevertheless I hope your efforts do end up improving the quality of the educational experience at McKinley Elementary -- that would be a good thing!

  If I may be so bold as to offer some advice, I suggest that parents and others who are putting their time and effort into this car wash not simply hand the school's representatives a check at the end of the day, but figure out amongst yourselves what *you* believe is the most important budgetary priority for the school, and then tell the recipients, "this is what we want the money used for," and get a commitment in writing that they will honor that request. And make sure there will be a way to tell later whether it was honored or not!

  By the way, are you aware of any efforts in your community to raise money for non-government-run schools? These schools are more in need of community assistance, since they do not receive a "free" subsidy from government and thus are forced to charge tuitions which make them less affordable to those they might otherwise help. Typically, people and businesses at the local level seem most interested in raising money for "public schools". But the popular notion that only government-run schools offer "public" education bears little relation to reality. Virtually all schools are open to the public -- just as virtually all restaurants are, even though we don't have a "San Francisco Unified Restaurant District." Some non-government schools have admission requirements -- but so do some government schools. Due to the complicated SFUSD school assignment system, just because a school identifies as "public" doesn't *necessarily* mean it's easier to get into than a school that identifies as "private". An SFUSD school will probably be more affordable to attend, thanks to government subsidies, but aren't the schools *not* receiving these subsidies more deserving? There's something perverse about focusing community volunteer efforts on public schools that are already getting lots of money from taxpayers, while schools serving the public that *don't* have government as a sugar daddy are denied the same level of grassroots assistance.

  Of course I understand it's a dilemma, because you and your fellow parents, neighbors and students may like the physical campus of McKinley, the location, some of the existing teachers, etc., and given the expense and difficulty of getting anything built in San Francisco, and the problems of funding a new school when so much of our discretionary income is being siphoned off to fund the institutions and programs that are directly controlled by government, may mean that you feel you are effectively stuck on the SFUSD plantation and just have to make the best of it. Sadly, government officials are unlikely to give up the top-down bureaucratic control they exercise over McKinley and other local schools without a struggle. People seeking to have their schools become charter schools in order to get out from under the government's thumb a little bit have often had to fight tooth and nail, and short of that, the rules are often badly stacked against educational reform.

  All I can say is good luck! And if by some miracle I do happen to get elected to School Board, you can count on me to do what I can to try to increase your options for getting off the plantation, and to help those who stay make the best of it.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))
        Candidate for School Board

Hi Starchild,

I do like your suggestion that a check not be just handed over! In the parochial schools with which I am familiar, we parents worked our fingers to the bone to raise money for specific things, and then we purchased those things ourselves! BTW, we are talking about both stay at home parents, as well as parents working full time, as I did.

I do not understand your comment about community groups raising money for schools not receiving government funds (such as parochial schools). In my personal experience, private school parents take care of their own, that's just the culture there.



  Glad you like my suggestion of the parents not just handing over a check. I would have included in my message the idea of purchasing supplies directly if I'd thought of it. But I don't understand your questioning my comment about raising money for non-government schools. From a libertarian perspective, it seems obviously better to have community resources going to these institutions than to schools run by government, unless perhaps giving government schools this kind of support were directly tied to lowering taxes. But you know that's about as likely as pigs flying!

  I suspect the culture at community (private) schools is that the "parents take care of their own" mainly because no one else is helping them and so they have no other choice! But if people believe educating children should be a community responsibility, and not fall strictly on the shoulders of those with children at a particular school, then why wouldn't they want to help non-government schools keep their tuition rates at these schools lower by pitching in?

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild,

Oh good! You have an interest in the subject and you have an opportunity to express your ideas to the general public.

My personal experience while I was very involved as a parent in parochial schools was that we (parents, administrators, teachers) were focused on obtaining for ourselves whatever we felt might help the kids. I do not believe that the thought ever crossed our minds of expecting anything from those whose kids were not attending that particular school, or were not part of the parish. As I said, we took care of ourselves. That seemed to me to be the culture, at least in the schools I was involved in.

Ideas similar to your community-wide cooperation did occur, but with everybody pitching in, and everybody benefiting from the effort. The most memorable example being city-wide sports. Parents volunteered to coach, schlep the kids to practice and games, provided the refreshments, and made sure the cheesy trophies got handed out. Sure some parents chose not to participate because they just were not into the stuff. No problem; either they paid a set fee in lieu of participation or they found another school.

And that constitutes the difference between private and public schools!! Private schools can say participate, pay up in lieu, or get out. Public schools cannot, they are stuck with those who will find 99 excuses to do neither. So, your job as a School Board member is to provide creative ways that the 99-excuse folk do not drag the public school system down the way they do.

To reiterate, so as not to hear from any of you about how some parents cannot participate because they work so hard. I worked full time at a pretty demanding job while all this was going on.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your campaign for School Board, Starchild!