Back To School Conspiracy Theory

Back to school is a conspiracy. It is ranked up there with Valentine's Day & Hallmark, Santa Claus & Christmas, Prescription drugs and your doctor's office. We have an entire industry of educators convincing us that Large Ziplock bags and 4 boxes of crayons are necessary to successfully complete the 3rd grade.

My sister-in-law spent $264 on school supplies. For the equivalent of a car payment, her kids now have pencils that will be lost and backpacks with straps that will be broken in two months. All because there's a list that a random group of people sat around a table and created, and in their insignificant power labeled map pencils as “mandatory”, we have to go broke.

And then there's Target with their seductive Back To School campaigns, with their commercials strategically placed between every episode on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Our kids are convinced that they need all new clothes and shoes. And we believe it, or feel guilty enough because “other parents are doing it” so we buy…and we buy…and we buy.

Ridiculously, we have the power to say No. No to the teacher who wants hand sanitizer and no to our kids who want $70 Nikes. We can say No to the other parents who brag about all the stuff they buy their kids. We can say No to the already profitable retail establishments with their low prices and every-kid-has-them jeans.


But we don't.

You won't.

I won't.

Because it's the norm. Because it's what we are told to do.

But as I was walking around the store, calculating pennies in my head I thought of the sadness of the American education system. We've created, and allowed such nonsense, yet kids still graduate with an eighth grade reading level, if they even graduate at all. We will buy our kids the designer shoes and the backpacks, without the expectation of any effort put into their school work, accepting D's on their report card and no motivation to do anything beyond the minimal requirements. We will sacrifice in order to buy all of these school supplies to keep them organized without really teaching them how to use the tools to stay that way.

I'm sad for the American Education System, because like so many other things, we are missing the point. We purchase all the supplies necessary, all the clothes to make them the coolest/cutest/whatever-est, but we don't have kids with minds and hearts appreciative of what they receive for free.

There are 61 million kids in the world who don't get to go to school.

There are 32 million kids every year that have to repeat a grade.

There are 31 million kids who could go to school but aren't enrolled.

Our kids need a heart change, and our parents (me, included) need one, too. We need to stand against the Back-To-School conspiracy and start teaching our kids what a privilege back to school truly is.

Agree or Disagree?


5 thoughts on “Back To School Conspiracy Theory

  1. I can feel the passion to share about this subject through your words. Its an important subject! We should be investing money into edication funds, and not over diong the ‘school uear necessities’ according to teacher, school, boards, and society. Bringing awareness to this issue for us to all look at, within ourselves, is an excellent way to start the necessary shift in perception and spending.
    I only have control over my own home, so heres what I do. Its easier for me because I have 2 daughters, 9 years apart. One treats her belongings well, and thank goodness shes the oldest. I repair all ‘broke shoulder strap’ backpacks. I buy 1 maybe every 2-3 years. Staying away from fads, certain colours, and trends. Theyre going to get dirty, buy them darker coloured! I use handwashing for them once a month, and end of school year theyre immediately emptied, washed, dryed very well, then stored in the backapck bin until next year and beyond. The only time we get ‘brand new’ backpacks is once theyre irreprable or too small. The youngest gets them after that. In fact i just washed her one today! We make a conscious effort to purchase they higher cost qulaity, the girls knowing they will not be getting the latest, greatest hottest trending packs–save that for purses or handbags. They save for their own as well. I am a one parent head of the family, disabled temporarily, on a tight fixed income for 3, and have still managed to save for both of the girls educations with this strategy. School is thee most important job the children have. It is their only job and they are expected to do well, its just how it is in our hone.
    Encouraging others to look above the commercials, ads, targets and tagline, is a great idea. I think if they could, theyd easily see the ‘gimmick’ and consumer brain washing thats going on. Maybe even re-assess the ‘back to school budget’ in the family!? Heres Hoping ;D Thanks for sharing, Jeanine

  2. How sad but true! My kids are learning even before they enter school that Jesus ALWAYS wants their best effort in all they do…obeying, cleaning, sports, learning. My kids are learning they will always have what they need and sometimes what they want (but not always and only if they’ve taken care of the things that are priorities first). I’m afraid that my kids will be different than most of their cohorts. 🙂

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