Parents in school districts across the country have taken to raising funds to help cover school supplies, maintain programs, and even save teachers’ jobs that are being cut by financially-strapped school districts, according to The Seattle Times.
In the Tacoma, Wash. school district, parents of kindergarteners at Lowell Elementary raised $16,000 in order to save the jobs of three teacher’s aides. Meanwhile, in New York City, parent groups raised enough money to hire 200 teachers and aides this past year.
Despite its good intentions, however, parent fundraising has its drawbacks.
Some observers worry that it can widen the gap between rich and poor school systems, shortchanging schools with primarily low-income families who can’t afford to contribute to the schools. Additionally, the national Parent Teacher Association fears that school systems may become dependent on parents fundraising for teacher salaries and therefore encourages groups to get involved in lobbying state lawmakers instead.
“It is commendable that parents are so dedicated to quality education for every student that they raise money to pay for teachers and other necessary resources,” said Bill Raabe, director of collective bargaining for the National Education Association. “Yet it is deplorable that any group has to raise money to fund basic resources we know students need to succeed.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.