Saturday, March 14, 2009

Art Fundraiser, round two

Speaking of hurting my children's feelings, if you read my earlier posts, you know I was concerned about this assinine Art Fair the kids' school is holding, the one where you can purchase your own kids' artwork back for $30. Well, I wrote the principal with my concerns and he eventually wrote me back. The art teacher had answered most of my questions, but she still thinks it's a wonderful program, and she doesn't consider it a fundraiser. How she gets that, I don't know. If you sell something and the school gets part of the proceeds, then it's a freaking fundraiser, but anyway...

So yesterday, we get a reminder on the event, and now I'm even madder. Whereas on the first form we got, you could RSVP to attend (and that's all the form said, "RSVP if you plan to attend"), on this reminder form, there is some additional information on the back. Most notably, if you RSVP, then you agree to purchase the artwork. Really? And you tell me that after I send in the RSVP? So now if you don't agree to purchase the artwork in advance, you must basically send the art teacher a note saying to take back your RSVP. And if you aren't going to purchase your child's artwork, you are more than welcome to attend the event and see all the other kids' work hanging nicely on the walls, but you will find your kid's work stuck in a folder somewhere, not on display. Don't you know there isn't enough space to display everyone's work?

This is the biggest load of hogwash I've ever heard. They really don't believe it's a fundraiser? They really expect us to believe that there isn't enough wall space in the whole school on which to display everyone's work? WTH!!! How stupid do these people think we are?

I wrote the principal back with all of the above, again, stated in a much nicer fashion. But come on! I basically told him I'd have to rescind my RSVP because I didn't plan to agree to purchase anything without seeing it first (my son is basically telling me that his is bad and not worth the money). And I wasn't going to attend so that my kids could see some people's artwork on the wall and theirs not on display. What kind of sicko disappointment of an evening would that be? I ended my email with how I want to be as supportive of my children's school as possible, but I also expect the school to be supportive of my children, and this is not happening in this case.

What I didn't say, and I hope he reads between the lines, is that this is a public school. This is not the place to be having an event merely for the kids from a higher socioeconomic status. If the rich kids (or rich mommies) want to have a rich kids art fair, then they can join or create a private club for that. A public school is supposed to be supportive of all children. (Maybe the rich mommies will figure that out when their hubbies lose their jobs too, or when the hubbies trade them in for a younger model. I know...that was catty...sorry.)

Ugggh! I am so ready for the new school to open. Unfortunately, I think most of the rich kids are headed there too. I keep hearing wonderful things about the principal of the new school, though. I hope he has enough sense to veto crap like this. Coming from a very much disadvantaged school right now, surely he has some sense!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hurting my kids' feelings

I think anyone with children can relate to this, or heck, anyone with a heart can probably relate. Something happened tonight which really hurt my daughter's feelings. I won't go into elaborate details, but basically some very immature grown up made a stupid power play that affects her and a lot of other girls. Really what they've done is pull the rug out from under her. I know that sounds cryptic, but I can't give too many details, and the details aren't the point of this posting anyway.

The point of the post is how upset I am that someone has acted so callously in regards to my child. She took the news as to be expected, pretty disappointed, but I think I took it worse. The fact that I had to be the one to pass this along nearly made me cry. I can handle a lot of stress, and I do it pretty well, but my children can always make me cry. I guess I'm supposed to be like that as a mom.

Usually my kids make fun of my "sensitive" nature. My son went through a Christmas movie phase where we watched Frosty the Snowman hundreds of times when he was around 2 or 3. He never really noticed that I cry every time Frosty melts until my mom mentioned that I used to always cry. Then I had to admit that I still cry every time, and that's all it took to become the family joke. "Hey mom, Frosty's getting ready to melt; are you gonna cry this time, too?" Last month my generally undisciplined son had a great streak at school. His assistant teacher wrote him a special note about how wonderful he had been. I cried as I read it, so then when he handed me his folder to sign, he said, "Are you gonna cry all over that, too?" And yes, I did.

So today was difficult. I would do anything to spare my child this disappointment, and I really hate that there is nothing I can do about this. This is almost as frustrating as B's last year of preschool, when there was a revolving door of teachers; he had 6 teachers in that one year. When he'd get close to one and then she would leave, I never knew what to do, and I felt trapped in the situation. Well, I'm trapped once again in a situation that's less than ideal for my child, and I really just want to cry. I won't, but considering punching someone isn't really legal either, I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pimping out my Kids

The other day I got this note from my kids' elementary school:

"You are invited to attend your child's Art Gallery Event!

Dear Parents:

Our students have been working hard on a special art project that will be displayed at our KidsArt Fair on.....(date and time).

It's a big day for our school--don't miss the opportunity to share in the joy of creative expression with your child. You may purchase your child's framed artwork for $29.95 (plus tax). Our school receives 20% of all frame sales to support art education. There is no charge to visit the gallery--bring the whole family!"

What? (or WTH??? is more like it) Let me get this straight. So I can attend this wonderful art gallery, at no charge, and then buy my own kids' artwork. So I have to pay $30 to buy my kids' work? Exactly how is that legal?

Let me tell you, I'm all in favor of supporting art education and music education, etc. But I'm not going to do it by allowing the school to sell my kids' artwork for a profit. And I have two kids, so now I'm roped into spending $60 because who can really go see their kids' artwork and not want to buy it? And you can't buy one without the other. What happens if I don't want to buy my kids' work? Can someone else buy it? Can I buy some other kids' work? What if my kids' artwork stinks? What if I like little Katie's flowers better than the ones my kid did? Can I buy Katie's work and pretend it's my kids'? You see where I'm going with this...

Also, let's add this fundraiser to the one that the art classes already did in the fall. Back then they had the kids draw pictures and then sent them off to the Art by Me folks to make into magnets, tshirts, notebooks, totebags, etc. Then they sent home the magnet of the kids' artwork and basically strong armed me into buying it. I tried to get out cheap by just buying the magnet and one cheap little thing for each kid, but I still spent around $30-$40 on that fundraiser. What this tells me is that my kids aren't getting much in the way of art education at school, unless of course the driving principle is that to be an artist you have to sell everything, even to your own family. Seems to me my kids have spent the better part of this past year in art class learning how to shakedown their parents with cuteness.

I guess I'm going to email the art teacher and the principal to ask a few questions...namely, if I don't purchase the frame, can I still have my kids' artwork back? For the Art by Me stuff, I never got the artwork back, so the only way to get a copy of my kids' work was to buy it.

Why can't schools ever catch on to the fact that we parents really, really, really hate these danged fundraisers? If they would ask me to send in a $10 check to cover art supplies, I'd be more than happy to do so. Instead they ask us to spend $30, for which they only get 20%, or $6. This is fundraising at its most insane.