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.
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?