Monday, May 22, 2006

What exactly are we teaching our kids?

Well, more lessons in life from the New York City public school system.

My wife decided to volunteer for my daughter's class trip to "Medieval Times". My wife really enjoys helping both our daughters' teachers and often volunteers for whatever's needed. The bonus was that this promised to be a relatively fun trip.

The downside was that if parents wanted to go on this trip they had to pay a 40$ ticket fee. Okay...although steep, that's not insurmountable so we stepped up and paid for my wife early on...you see, there was only enough room on the bus for five parents. Worse, there were three parents who would be "required" to attend if they wanted their children to go on the trip because their angel was a disciplinary problem. That's right: for their child to go on the trip, a parent would be required to attend and to sit next to their child on the bus. As my wife was to find out later, the seating requirement did not extend to the event itself.

Now kudos to the school for one thing. At least they made the parent come and didn't have any problem identifying those children most likely to make the event overly taxing for the teacher. Frankly, I'm surprised that some lawyer didn't advise the school that they were opening themselves to a lawsuit by damaging the self-esteem of those children identified as problematic.

Here's the kicker.

If you were a parent required to accompany your child...you didn't have to pay the $40 fee. That's right...the taxpayers paid for your ticket.

So the $40 is apparently a tax on those parents that have taught their children to maintain at least a minimum standard of behavior. We're not talking about our own little angels here, we're just talking about being good enough not to require a parental escort on the field trip.

There's the argument that, "Parents who let their kids act like that probably wouldn't care enough to pay the money to come, so if we didn't pay for them their kids would miss out."

You know what? That's a decision for the parents that I'm okay with.

Apparently, there IS such a thing as a free lunch...if your kid is a big enough pain in the butt.

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