I love my son's school, but does the fundraising have to have the same aggression as a political campaign??
Dani Klein Modisett: My first grader goes to a Los Angeles public school -- an amazing jewel of a place nestled in the hills of Bel Air and run by this tireless, force-of-nature woman who is the principal. It's a magnet school, and you enter a lottery to get in. When my son was accepted, it didn't only "feel" like we'd won the lottery -- we actually had. So let me begin by saying that in the area of education, my family has been blessed. And the timing could not have been better, because although we had strongly considered private school, in the current economic climate (meaning that both me and my husband are making noticeably less money now than a few years ago), the fact that we don't have to worry about paying an institution to teach my son to read and write is a gift from God, or at least LAUSD.
Having acknowledged all that, can I also say that my eyeballs are red and my hair is falling out from the most aggressive fundraising I have ever experienced? I mean, bless them for coming at it from every angle, but do we really need to charge grandparents for coming to Grandparents Day? We have already had candy sales, magazine sales, pizza sales, books fairs, a school-supplies fest, a sweetheart dance and, most recently, a "readathon" where my son had to solicit people to sponsor him reading pages -- $1 for every one he reads in a month. I can't complain too much about this one, since he's plowing through books to stay ahead of his buddies. And there was even a "mustache-farming" fundraiser (I told you the principal was tireless). Participants took pledges for who could grow the most impressive mustache in a month. I enjoyed this one wholeheartedly, and realized why as I was sitting in the auditorium applauding the winner.
I couldn't compete in it. At least not with a chance at winning. No feelings of guilt washed over me for not having done more. I love this school and would giddily hand them a check for $100,000 myself if I had it, or even a lot less. This is the part, I think, that bothers me most. Every time the school puts its figurative hand out, I am reminded of how tight the reins are pulled in on our family right now, and it breaks my heart a little bit for all of us.
Of course, if they were interested in a chin-hair contest ....
|Dani Klein Modisett is the mother of 2-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 6-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth ... Stories You Won't Read in Parents Magazine." An anthology of stories from this show, published by St. Martin's Press, is now in bookstores everywhere.|