Thursday, 1 November 2007

Managing Expectations

Sat down to read the local newspaper: Added cost for student field trips is prominently displayed on the front page.

As a new parent whose oldest son just entered the public educational system, I read through the article (a year or two ago I would have given the article a pass). To summarize, the Waterloo school board has decided to charge students the cost of providing a substitute teacher when the main teacher travels on an overnight school trip. I remember those trips. I went on a couple back in the day. There were always a few less fortunate students who couldn't pony up the cash and had to stay behind with a substitute teacher. So, the trips were excursions for the wealthy, or at least solidly middle class students. As they aren't required curriculum, downloading the cost of the substitute teacher to the students (or rather their parents) strikes me as eminently sensible. The article claims certain trips may be cancelled, as the cost may be higher than the parents are willing to pay. Again, as these trips are not really that educational, that doesn't bother me too much.

However, I consider myself open minded, as was willing to consider the other side of the argument. The article goes on to cite two examples of overnight trips where the substitute teacher cost would be downloaded....

However, the board's new strategy will add significant costs for students going on more extensive trips like to Europe, excursions organized through an insured, reputable travel agency.

Trustee Harold Paisley cited his own son's school trip to Egypt as an example, saying the trip cost each student $2,600.

EXCUSE ME?!?!?! Egypt? Europe? WTF? OK, my mind is made up. If parents can afford to pay $2600 to send their little spoiled brat, sorry, pride and joy to Egypt, they can damn well afford to pay for the substitute teacher that's going to be babysitting my sons who be won't be going on those trips. Shit, I can't afford to send myself and my wife to Europe, never mind paying for my kids. To think that my taxes have been subsidizing these excursions for the offspring of the wealthy for the last 10 years.

God, no wonder the school boards are short on funds!

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