Thursday, January 25, 2007

A perfect example

I just launched at a friend today (late last night?) about his school's fundraising, which he mentioned. He objected to the particular fundraising event, and I objected to the very act of fundraising for public schools at all because frankly it's supposed to be funded by tax dollars. Plus, the families who can't afford to contribute feel pressure to contribute even when they absolutely cannot afford it, and may be living hand to mouth.

I grew up with very little money and I remember that pressure, so I really object to the entire concept. And just in case you are wondering, I have never ever voted for tax cuts, as a grown up my family pays taxes without objection, & I think my taxes should be raised a lot more.

Sounds weird? No, I'm like a lot of people who grew up with nothing and don't mind paying to get good services. I know my friend probably agrees, but the problem is that school fundraising can turn into a neighbourhood competition too easily. Anyway, I thought about phoning him up and apologizing, cause really he was discussing a slightly different issue, but lo and behold, who rings on my door 10 minutes ago?

A little girl, and her sister, and their Dad. They are going door-to-door begging for money for yet another stupid school fundraiser.

In the DARK.

In MINUS 20 FREAKIN' DEGREE CELSIUS WEATHER. Not including windchill, people.

Coldest day of the year here in TO.

I wanted to tell the guy at my door off, but I also knew that he and his kids were probably feeling all sorts of social pressure to bring in the know, if you don't raise X dollars we'll never be able to provide your kids with a decent education. Which is BS...

So no I didn't give them money. I didn't want to reward the idiot for endangering his children's health. But, as an act of charity, I also did not call Children's Aid and report the blazing fool. This entire episode, in fact, all of it could be prevented by simply banning any outside fundraising by parents and kids. Period. Last year, I understand it was a pittance province wide and could easily be replaced by a 4 dollar a year per resident extra tax contribution.

Think about it. For four dollars a year, no child will ever ring on your doorbell selling chocolate covered almonds again, no child will ever have to beg in the freezing cold, and no parent will ever have to decide if they can afford to buy groceries OR give in to keeping up with the Joneses.

I'll pay. Please raise my taxes to do it. And keep your kids at home where it's warm, for chrissakes, buddy!

Yes, I may call up my friend yet and tell him to ignore my rant, but I've seriously made the decision that I'm not giving any more money to these kids at the door, and I'm going to harangue all my political buddies to tax the highest bracket of earners.

Education is a human right, not an act of charity.


  1. Call the school and complain. I have already had to sellmy share of crappy cookie dough and over priced giftwrap, but in our district, the kids are not allowed to do door to door sales, even with a grownup.

    Of course then the commpetition becomes about whose parents are better connected. . . .

  2. You're probably right Alley, but the problem is then that the school will just go short. We need to get them some more money...and yes, you are definitely right about the connections...which makes it even more unfair for kids who don't live in the rich neighbourhoods. Sigh

  3. God, I love you. I'm so glad I found you or you found me. I find you sensible which is a rare flower these days.

    This said, I did buy chocolate bars from every neighbourhood kid that came to my door when I lived in Centre-Sud Montreal. I also found random jobs for the 8-year olds who would drop buy and ask if I needed them to do something.

    I don't agree with kids going door-to-door to raise money for schools -- I'm completely in agreeance that our government should be providing those resources -- but I also recognised in my community a need to support those kids in whatever way I could, even if it was just as a neighbour who would buy shitty chocolate she couldn't eat.

    I guess in a way I saw my buying school chocolate as an act of community rather than charity. I don't think I would feel the same way here in my Toronto neighbourhood though.

  4. In my neighborhood the only fundraising is for extracurricular, band, cheerleading, etc. And I don't mind letting kids fundraise for those sorts of things (in a sensible manner), because it gives them a sense of responsibility. I remember many band trips to competitions (that we didn't HAVE TO go to), for which we earned the money ourselves. There was a great sense of pride in that. In fact, I still have a great sense of pride in that.

  5. Hi Louise, Thanks! I'm blushing!
    Yes, I might feel differently in another neighbourhood, or another time...but that's the way it is now.

    Catherine, yes, when it's reasonable and really extra-curricular things I don't mind, but the definition of extras has gotten out of hand around here, and I'm not sure what else to do except ban it.

  6. I HATE school fundraisers, but I also HATE the way money is allocated to schools here in the US. If you are in a wealthy area, you get great schools. If not, then you get to scrape the bottom of the barrel. I'm surprised I made it through my childhood without being abducted. I was constantly selling something and I always went by myself from as early as 7 years old. They told us we had to go with an adult, but that was never an option when you have a single mom raising 3 kids and having to work. She just wasn't around to come with me. I am so thankful for my generous neighbors who always bought something from me. I now buy a lot from these kids who come door to door. I kind of feel like I need to give back what I can. It's tough though, because I wish the school would just provide for it all. Like you, I would be more than willing to pay more in taxes so that they don't have to train to be salesman at the ripe age of 7.

  7. Again Aurelia, you are so right and wise. A 4 dollar a year tax rise for education is exactly what is needed. I think you should be writing lobbying letters about this.