It’s been interesting watching the press coverage of the fundraising story. Some people have raised concerns that we are condemning fundraising altogether. But the intention was not to judge fundraising nor the fundraisers. Fundraising events are often a great way to get parents and the community engaged in the school. It’s a simple-to-understand way to support your neighbourhood school and sometimes it’s even fun: flipping those burgers, eating all those chocolate covered almonds, reading those magazines you never in a million years actually needed etc.
The hard part then, is taking it back to the beginning to identify what is the problem. To People for Education, the problem is that the province has not articulated a vision for education beyond targets for test scores. They have not laid out a full set of goals or provided leadership for a conversation about what kinds of kids we’re trying to graduate from our schools.
So here’s what we need:
Step 1 – The vision.
Step 2 – An outline of what it is that all students should have access to, in every school, no matter what kind of community they’re in, in order to support that vision. And a funding model that supports the provision of those services, supplies, resources etc.
Step 3 – A policy that outlines how we can ensure fairness across communities and across the province.
Step 4 – A provincial policy that outlines, among other things: what kinds of things are good to fundraise for; in what cases fees are appropriate, and the process schools must take to ensure that no family and no student ever feels that they are outsiders because they can’t afford the activity, the fee, the trip etc.
After we take those steps we’ll be far on the road to equity and greatness. Won’t that be grand!