The school year for folks around here got underway this past week. Teachers and parents are teaming up to ensure the little ones receive a quality education. Or maybe they’re not.
Each year, I find myself wondering who makes the decisions when it comes to what teachers can and cannot do for their students. Seems like educators are finding their hands being tied on the most bizarre levels. I’d talked to my best friend today about how the first week of school went for her daughter. I suspected it was harder on my friend than it was her little girl – and I was right. She told me she’d spent some time helping her five year old loosen and tighten the big cap on her thermos because the teachers aren’t allowed to touch a student’s food or utensils. After I asked her to repeat it a few times – just to be sure I understood, I was speechless.
After I got off the phone with her, I spoke with another friend who also has little ones in another school zone who started school this week – one is in kindergarten and she also has a third grader. Turns out, these days, the first week of school is spent with educators and parents clashing over everything from which teacher is assigned to their little darlings to what time they eat lunch. One parent wants her little ball of sunshine put with another teacher while another parent is hell bent on keeping his own little gem out of a “stricter” teacher’s classroom. I don’t envy the teachers. Since when is being strict a bad thing – especially when it’s a child whose parents give in to their every whim – up to and including kaboozling Mom and Dad to march up to the school and demand a different teacher? And what happened to a parent saying ‘Get over it. You’re going to have a lifetime of “strict teacher” moments’?
Some of these parents have the whole community up in arms – and it’s just the first week! I always thought we
sent our kids to school to gain an education while growing into responsible adults who don’t demand changes on a whim, who act responsibly and who recognize that we don’t always get our way.
Now, far be it from me to parallel one dynamic with another – but have you heard about some of the changes in our social welfare programs? Aside from the regulations being relaxed for serial welfare recipients who find looking for a job entirely too traumatizing, there are now other changes that will only cement some folks into continuing what’s worked so well for years. – which is, well – nothing.
The traditional paper food stamps have been replaced with EBT cards and according to a new study, the monthly funnel of money added to these government credit cards is simply too tempting. In many states, these EBT cards can be used for anything – even withdrawing cash from an ATM. And make no mistake: that taxpayer money is being used for liquor, concert tickets and shopping sprees at some of the nation’s most prestigious department stores.
The study was conducted in Tennessee by a consumer watchdog group. It included a review of more than 150,000 transactions made via EBT cards. The study was focused between October and December 2011. The study found the majority of transactions were being used exactly as intended, but there were many that left the researchers boggled. Here are a few transactions “charged” to these government aid cards:
- Tickets to tour Graceland in Memphis
- A $500 shopping spree at the mall
- A night out at a nightclub for $60
- Waffle House visits by one card holder that totaled more than $100
- $100 purchase at Dillards
As I mentioned, most welfare recipients may use their EBT benefits to withdraw cash from ATM machines. One EBT recipient made a withdrawal of $790 from an ATM at a Memphis liquor store. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services officials who oversee the program admit they cannot trace where the cash goes after it’s been withdrawn. These people are free to do with it as they wish with no accountability to anyone.
But maybe these people had parents who were willing to go to bat for them when they were in elementary school. Maybe they were allowed to swap strict teachers for those who were more lenient in the classroom.
You can see more of the report here: watchdog.org. You can see how the parents and teachers are clashing in just about any school across the country these days.