I Would Do Anything for My Kids (Except Another School Pledge)

You know that Meatloaf song, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”? I have my own version of that song. It’s titled, “I’d Do Anything To Help My Kids’ School Raise Money (But I Won’t Do Those Annoying Pledge Drives).”

 

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I understand schools are in a tough spot when it comes to budgets. I live in Oregon, where our schools are really struggling for funds, and the fallout is no joke. Every year we face new painful reductions, and districts have been forced to cut school days, lay off teachers, increase class size, and eliminate programs like music, art, and P.E. My state has the third largest class size in the nation, and we’re nearly $3 billion short of what the Quality Education Model tells us we need to invest in our schools for every child to be successful.

I wish I could singlehandedly solve our budget problems, but I feel pretty helpless. I consistently vote to invest in public education, I donate money directly to our school each year, and I volunteer two days a week in my kids’ classrooms … but it sure doesn’t feel like enough.

That said, I flat-out refuse to beg cash from friends and family in order to fund my kids’ never-ending pledge drives. You know, those things where you’re supposed to get donations for every lap they run or book they read? Dude. No. I won’t do thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

While I would love it if our school swapped fundraising activities in favor of just asking for one-time donations at the start of each school year, I realize this is never going to happen. Fundraising appears to be a necessary evil, regardless of how much I mentally bitch and moan and resent that the kids are bombarded with sales incentives during class time.

More from The Stir: School Fundraising Programs Need a Complete Overhaul

Recognizing that it’s not likely to go away any time soon doesn’t mean I have to play along, though. When my kids come home with papers asking parents to solicit pledges for this week’s Jog-A-Thon, I typically send those colorful forms — including the list of AMAZING PRIZES PER LEVEL OF PRIZES (oh wow you mean we get a plastic water bottle if we pester enough family members?) — straight into the recycling bin.

I don’t opt out of donating altogether, mind you: I send in a check. (I’m an asshole, not a stingy asshole.) But no way am I lining up sponsors to throw down cash for each time my kids lazily circle the track, regardless of how hard the PTA hustles. You can have my twenty or forty bucks, just don’t ask me to run a guilt-inducing Facebook campaign reminding everyone I’ve ever met that if they don’t whip out their credit card my kid won’t get a “100% participation class party.”

Bottom line: I’m happy to contribute financially to my kids’ school when I can, I just don’t want to harass my loved ones to do so. They know how to donate if they want to, and I’d rather they make that decision on their own.

How do you feel about school pledge drives?

Image via 401(K) 2012/Flickr

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