Just Wondering

It’s a sad day when a headline like this doesn’t even garner a second glance from most readers.

Food Bank answers school bell

Why is it so easy to ignore this story? Do people see the words “Food Bank” and figure it’s just a story about poor people, so why bother? Are we so insensitive about the well-being of other people that we no longer have time to care about their situation?

But, this story isn’t just about poor people, or the Food Bank. It’s about the teachers that are trying to change the lives of the children in their classrooms.

It’s tough trying to teach a child when his stomach’s growling. Or when she can’t afford notebooks or pens or backpacks.

With school starting as early as next week in the metro area, Griffin and Ross were among 40 metro Atlanta teachers stocking up on hundreds of dollars of free school supplies at the food bank’s downtown Atlanta warehouse.

Teachers were given a clipboard, a shopping cart and 30 minutes in what can only be described as the ultimate teacher’s supply closet. Shelves were stacked with copy paper and lined filler papers – coveted items among teachers. Barrels of pens. Notebooks. Rubber bands. Glue sticks. Bins full of small decorative letters. CD cases.

In the end, most hauled away nearly $800 each in free school supplies from the food bank’s Kids in Need program.

Every year I read stories about teachers spending hundreds of dollars on extra supplies and snacks for the kids in their classrooms. Every year I hear about organizations that step up and try to help bridge some of the gap between the funds the state makes available and the actual cost of running a classroom. Every year I hear about “how generous” our governor is for giving teachers a $100 gift card to help with their expenses. Don’t even get me started on the fact that teachers can only write off $250 in supply costs on their income taxes.

It’s time something was done about this. When the food bank has to step up and dole out almost $800 per teacher, it’s well past time to look at the system and start making these school districts accountable for the money they spend. They sure aren’t spending it on the students.

We all know the public school system is in trouble. The evidence is in the test scores year after year. Just imagine what would happen if school districts were forced to start spending money on educating students, instead of lining the pockets of the very administrators who are responsible for the problem in the first place.

Imagine what they could do if they actually spent the money on making an effort to teach the children.

What would happen if they stopped overlooking the obvious? Just wondering.