Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canada and the Cost of Education...

Tomorrow the kid has orientation at the High School he will be attending in less than a week. (God, how time flies.) He will get his semester schedule and have time to locate his classrooms so that the first day will be a little less stressful. It would be nice if they could figure out a way to make it less stressful for the parents.

They have informed us that we may purchase text books, gym uniforms, a lock, safety goggles etc. and pay lab fees for the year on this day. But it is strictly cash only. From what I have heard from other parents this will amount to approximately $200.00. God help parents will more than one child. This doesn't include the binders, pens, paper, calculator etc. he will require or the new sneakers and clothes he will need. (He seems to be growing every five minutes. Thirteen and already close to five foot astounds me.)

How do some families manage with these cost? I guess we are fortunate to be able to pay them without too much thought or financial discomfort but I'm sure that this isn't the case with a lot of local families. I don't remember it being anywhere near this expensive when I attended. (Alright, twenty years ago, IS a long time...but still!)

My coworker has a child going into Grade Four and she was saying that the school now sends home a list of the items that each child will require. The list was extensive and included things like "their own box of Kleenex"?!. I kid you not. It cost her almost $75.00 for school supplies for Grade Four!

Where have all our tax dollars gone? Public education is suppose to be accessible for all. But it seems that even that has started to become difficult for lower income families. It seems to me that the education of our children should be a bigger priority. The only way that schools are managing on their current budgets is by passing along costs to families and then making up the difference by fund raising.

All of the schools are on the fund raising band wagon. It seems that every week papers come home trying to get your child to sell some thing. I resent having the schools push my child into becoming a salesman and harassing our extended family and friends for money because you can be damn certain that I won't allow him to go door to door canvassing. It's just not safe to do so anymore. So you hit your family up for the cash by selling chocolate bars, cookie dough, calendars, raffle tickets and magazines and then they in turn do the same to you for their children. So at the end of the day...the parents are still paying these fees.

It concerns me that this is what we have become. But then again...maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. I work in a non-profit in the social services sector and we have been "doing more with less" for years. We are chronically short of cash and these are some of the most vulnerable individuals in society.

So I guess my question remains; Where have all the tax dollars gone and what is more important than education and supports for the disabled? Don't get me started on health care or the elderly...that's a subject for a rant on a different day.

I guess I'm just a little disappointed and disillusioned with my school board, province and country at the moment.

Canada,a great place to live...if you can afford to.

No comments: