How Parents and Students Can Inspire School Spirit
If you live in North America and you send your child to public school, the quality of education they are receiving could vary wildly. The sad truth is that certain schools have amazing facilities and others are completely under-resourced, with parents and teachers having to go the extra mile to fill in the gap. This type of incongruity based on district lines is unfair and extremely regrettable, but since the world is not a utopian fantasy, for the time being, we have to make do with the current system. Not to say anyone should be apathetic, but it’s important to be realistic.
Depending on what state or province you live in, there may be less money than ever (adjusted for inflation) going into public school resources. In Ontario, recently elected premier Doug Ford is removing crucial sex education and truth and reconciliation (with regards to the Indigenous community) programming from the curriculum and pulling thousands of dollars of funding that was earmarked for school repairs. For Ontario teachers trying to give their students a robust, well-rounded education, the coming years will be a challenge, to say the least.
In Oklahoma, public schools are so underfunded that many teachers spend their own pocket money on school supplies for the classrooms, or simply up and move to states like Texas, where the average annual income of a teacher is roughly double. This income disparity has inspired Oklahoma teachers to strike and to engage in local politics to enact positive change for public education.
Public education provides the foundational training for future generations to connect and engage with the world and lead us into the future – if the funding and the effort aren’t there, young people will have a much tougher time finding their way to a lucrative, meaningful career. Whether you’re a high school student, or the parent of a child in public school one of the best things you can do – aside from lobbying your local government – is to donate your time and resources to your local public school to give kids a better experience.
Here are a few practical suggestions of how to do this:
Donating cash is one thing, but if you can get your hands on art supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments or computers, these will make a huge difference to an underfunded school. Many schools are also working with outdated textbooks that contain outdated stereotypes or scientific information that has been proven wrong. Talk to the principal and teachers and figure out the school’s greatest weaknesses. If you have money or resources to spare, start at the weakest point and work from there.
If you have language skills, creative writing expertise, sports coaching skills, musical ability or if you’re a chess wizard, volunteer to lead an extra-curricular club. After school clubs where kids might encounter a hobby that leads to real-world skills, problem solving and creativity can make a huge impact. You could even order custom hoodies in Canada no matter what province the school is in, with the club’s name and logo on it to raise up school spirit and give the kids a souvenir to remember the experience.
Make Your Voice Heard:
If you’re a student who enjoys debating and writing essays, write to your local politicians and tell them your school needs more resources. As parents, you can do this too, but hearing a message loud and clear straight from the young people who are being undervalued and shortchanged sends a pretty powerful message.