Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Shakedown

Last May I read an article entitled "The End of the Year Shakedown". It was written by a mom who was brave enough to stand up and say that she was not going to give any gifts to her child's teacher at the end of the year. She felt like it was ridiculous to reward someone for doing their job. No other professional expects his/her clients to lavish them with gifts every Memorial Day. She referred to the new trend in collecting money from all of the kids to purchase one big gift for the teacher as "the end of the year shakedown."

I pretty much agree with her thoughts, and don't give gifts to teachers either, partly because having been a teacher I know that they dread the collection of hand lotion, trinkets and apple shaped pottery more than they cherish them. (And FYI, unless you are a close personal friend they are not going to eat any homemade stuff that you send in. They know where the kids hands have been.) I feel like a card expressing my thanks for a job well done is more than sufficient to show my gratitude. But more disturbing than the required end of the year gifts is the new outrageous "beginning of the year shakedown".

Not only did it cost me $93 to register my Kindergartener for school (including $20 for snacks) I also had to pay $28 for his shots. I'm required to take him to the doctor for a physical which will cost me my $25 copay, and in addition to that there is a new state law that he must have an eye exam ($45) and a dental screening ($65). So for the grand total of $256 he can have the priviledge of attending school....where, by the way, we will be asked to purchase outrageously priced Market Day food in order to support the school and avoid having to participate in door to door fundraising.

Did I mention that I have another child that requires some of the same medical exams and registration fees so that he can enroll in 3rd grade?

Did I mention I paid the public school system over $2000 of my property taxes this year?

I understand the registration fee. I even understand the snack fee. I get why he has to have one wants infectious diseases running rampant through the Kindergarten....although I don't believe in the chicken pox vaccine, but that's another story. But if he goes blind and all of his teeth fall out it isn't going to hurt another living soul.

You cannot legislate good parenting, Mr. Blagoevich!

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