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I Thought My Kid Went to Public School

Ida Balderas
Ida Balderas

Three weeks into the latest school year my household is in full regimented school night mode. I arrive home from work, change out of my corporate attire into my bunny slippers and work out gear. I wear the workout gear with every intention of “working out” but being a single mother of three that only happens about twice a week. Next I pop some sort of protein in the microwave and holler “ok, who has a folder from their teacher for me to read?” Instantly an onslaught of “I do” blankets the air.

As I thumb thru the graded homework, the join this and join that, I begin to read the “send $5 to help our class project,” we need $10 to fund our science project, Choir uniforms are $35, you are required to buy a spirit shirt $10 each ,here is a fundraiser you are required to participate in.. Blah, blah, blah…. Add all that up, multiply by three kids and there you have it, what is a single mother to do?

Its moments like this when I ask myself where does all the education funding go? Congress failed again to pass a $400 Million education bill. I hear talk of “reform” and let’s take care of our children. I live in one of the best school districts in Texas and yet a teacher has to beg me for an eraser?

I do not comprehend the reasoning behind any of this. I’ve talked to so many parents who are in similar situations and are equally as frustrated as myself. In an effort not to sound redundant, but obviously failing, where does all the education funding go? I am not wealthy by any means, I do not fall in the poverty category, and I am full blown middle class. I provide well for my kids the best I can. We do have the occasional “sandwich” week as the price of groceries continues to rise but we are far from destitute. If my bank account spent more time in digits not resembling a shoe size then maybe I would consider private school; but for me and many like me public school is the only option.

At the end of the 19th century when a FREE public school system was established to educate our children to be more productive members of society, a public education was just that, FREE. I understand that with changing times different materials are needed and I expect to provide for my own children. Of course I spring for the fancy Spiderman composition books, Tinker bell pencils, and any notebook that has sparkling vampires on it, but I do expect a federal funded school system to provide for its schools and its educators.

In a crowded dining room having dinner amongst friends deep in conversations of politics, diapers and the best wine I can always expect to start a heated discussion with “I thought my kid went to public school…” This is usually followed by gasps of “I KNOW” and “Yeah, what’s up with that.” This instantly relieves my burden just a little bit knowing I’m not crazy in this thought.

My plan? Well, I don’t really have one. I watch the news, I pay attention to our law makers but as of yet I see no plans for any of this to go away. I see congress and local state governments speaking of millions here or millions there, but still all I see is the discussions, never a resolution. Where does all the education funding go? I honestly don’t know but hopefully someday soon we’ll find it and the school will buy poor Mrs. Reed some new dry erase board erasers so I don’t have to.

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