Undemocratic donations

Is it undemocratic for public school parents to pay for extras out of their own pockets? In a Boston Globe column, Eileen McNamara criticizes Wellesley parents who tried to fund sixth-grade Spanish classes with donations after voters narrowly rejected a budget proposal that provided money for the program.

In the face of the fundamental inequity in educational opportunity we do not need Citizens to Save Spanish, parents determined to circumvent the will of a majority when they do not prevail at the polls. No matter how committed they are, no matter how worthy their goal, these parents are sending a message that their cause is more legitimate than the democratic process.

That is not a civics lesson our children need to learn.

McNamara says the $380,000 raised by parents “in their failed bid to restore Spanish classes . . . ought to be enough to hire private tutors.” Well, sure. Is that better than funding a program that would have been open to all students, even those whose parents can’t afford private lessons?

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Lou Gots says:

    The radical socialist ideology expressed here, that allowing someone to pay for something is “undemocratic,” is precisely why the infamous thing which public education has become must be crushed.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    We had that issues in my city — parents and the public screamed when one school raised roughly $500,000. The money was used to build a new wing to the building. The interesting thing is shortly after that the rest of the elementary schools in our city had renovations and additions done and paid for by the city.

    Our PTAs/PTOs raise money at each school. Some schools raise more than others. That money is used solely at the school that raised it.

    There have been no more public outcries about the disparity between school funding raising abilities.

  3. Band parents have been doing this for years — it’s appalling that it has to happen to a language.

  4. triticale says:

    Doesn’t matter if it is a morass of quicksand. The important thing is that the playing field be level.

  5. Catherine says:

    It’s especially ironic when you consider that the language being taught is Spanish, the most common language spoken by new immigrants to the U.S.

  6. “Citizens to Save Spanish”, indeed. They sound as if the Spanish language itself is in danger (which it isn’t), not funding for Spanish education in one school district.

  7. Not only that, but the article also says “The same vote that rejected funds for Spanish also eliminated money for Wellesley’s two branch libraries. The Committee to Save the Branch Libraries meets on Wednesday. Bring your checkbook.” So it apparently is undemocratic for public school parents to pay for extras the school system can’t afford, but it is perfectly fine to do it to support the Public Library.

    I posted this at http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/06/undemocratic-donations.html and tried to trackback, but I got
    Pinging http://www.joannejacobs.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/5872… HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2005 16:12:09 GMT Server: Apache Connection: close Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1 289
    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request. 0 HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2005 16:12:09 GMT Server: Apache Connection: close Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1 289
    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request. 0 http://www.joannejacobs.com /cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/5872

  8. Reginleif says:

    Completely unsurprising. In a newspaper filled with left-leaning handwringers, McNamara stands out as one of the most whiny and entitlement-minded.

  9. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    So personal initiative, time and effort to raise money (mostly because public schools receive and waste millions and millions of taxpayer money) is ‘undemocratic’. I guess it depends on how you define ‘democracy’.

    Consider the names of former and current Communist countries:

    1. East Germany aka German DEMOCRATIC Republic
    2. North Korea aka DEMOCRATIC Republic of North Korea
    3. China aka PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC of China

    I guess the useful idiots who object to private fundraising mean THAT kind of democracy.