Today’s New York Times article, Way Beyond Bake Sales: The $1 Million PTA, highlights the nuances/conundrum/challenges inherent in the issue of parent fundraising for schools:
Of course, we want parents to support their kids and their schools. But what about the disparity between economically secure families/communities and those who do not have those resources? And, by focusing so much effort on fundraising, are we then de-emphasizing the much more important aspects of parent engagement in schools?
There are no easy answers. Some districts are implementing more centralized fundraising programs so that donations are distributed fairly to schools. I also think that California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to use a “weighted formula” to provide more funding to schools in communities facing greater challenges is a good step for how to handle public funding.
The best way to deal with this issue is to ensure that all of our schools received adequate public support. Here’s how a recent Education Week article on the topic ended:
“Private giving is a distraction, as there isn’t enough private money in the world to pay for a high-quality education for every child,” said Amanda Broun, the senior vice president of the Public Education Network, an intermediary organization that supports large urban foundations. “Our focus instead should be on how we can ensure we are using the public resources we have well, and properly funding public education with them,” she said. “Public education is a public responsibility.”