Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to School

It's been 29 years since I was last enrolled as an elementary school student.

Those of us who were semi-prepared, usually had a pencil or two (pre-sharpened), a peechee folder, maybe some three-ring paper, and an eraser that didn't make too huge a bulge in your pocket. A goody comb in your back pocket (black was the popular color, but I had to have a red one), some change for lunch or a quick snack at the local Trader Joe's after school, and you were set.

Things seemed to have changed a bit.

C starts kindergarden at our small town's public elementary school this week and she apparently has a list of required school supplies she is expected to bring on her first day of class. REQUIRED!

WalMart has a rotating display with separate supply lists for each grade from all of the surrounding area schools. You simply find your child's school and grade, pick up the corresponding sheet of paper and go happily skipping down the school supply aisle, shopping cart at the ready -- yes, we needed a shopping cart and not just one of those plastic carry baskets.

Our small town newspaper was extra heavy this weekend as they printed the school lists for all the grades and surrounding school systems as well. This was good reading, let me tell you. Some of my favorite required items included:

• 7th & 8th grade / Multi-subject notebook for notes and cumulative knowledge -- cumulative knowledge...is that what they're calling public education these days?

• 8th grade / Wide line notebook paper -- I think I was using the narrow line paper way back in 4th grade cuz it was cooler to write smaller..or so I remember.

• 2nd grade on / No. 2 pencils - now really, why were No. 2 pencils singled out as the be-all, end-all of pencils?

• All grades / Two reams white copy paper - wow, two reams worth. That's some heavy lifting on day one of school.

• 3rd grade / Pink Pearl Eraser - anyone know what this is...anyone?

• All grades / antibacterial wet wipes - ahh, I love the smell of antibaterial wet wipes in the morning...

School supply accumulation has reached red (severe) terror alert status as local radio stations and desperate communities are having round-the-clock school supply donate-a-thons in parking lots across the state.

I imagine most, if not all of the public schools in this country are subjecting their students to similar requirements before the bells ring in the next few months -- and may have been for quite some time.

It's just been awhile since I've been exposed to the world of public education. What other adventures lie ahead for this stay-at-home Dad are yet to be seen. PTA? School fundraisers? PeeWee sports leagues? BAKE SALES?

1 comment:

wantsusa said...

OMG I can't believe they require a pink pearl eraser...those are like so old school...I remember when I got my first white clickster eraser...it was soooo coool soooo sooo much better then that old pink pearl eraser...all the teachers even liked it better cause there wasn't the smudged pink pearl parts as the eraser wore down...

cumulative knowledge...now that is a good one...could someone write everything down so we know it all....heck can I just get an encyclopedia instead?

Oh the poor trees I though we were doing digital...and now they want 2 reams of paper! (Heck I don't think I went through 1 ream of paper my first full year in college...)