Simon had his open house today, and as is customary, teachers gave lists of things they needed to, you know, teach. Exotic equipment like pencils and dry erase markers. It's worse this year because now that he's in middle school, he has more than one teacher.
I know I'm not the only person who finds this ludicrously fucking insane, but why is it that, culturally, there is no civic engagement to do something about it? If I actually had to go into an office, I'd take a box of dry erase markers and give it to a teacher, because no one would care if I did. That's how trivial the objects are in the normal world. But the average school district can't carve out $29 for a box of 52 markers per teacher. And I'm not exactly blaming the school district, as mine does manage to at least provision basic laptops for students, but the way we fund schools and pay teachers only indicates that we do not prioritize education.
Here in Florida, instead, our asshat elected people at the state level are more worried that talking about gay people will make you gay, or learning that slavery was terrible will hurt your feelings and make you uncomfortable. This is as cosmically stupid as suggesting that studying Einstein will make you a genius with autism. But this is the "problem" that they choose to prioritize instead of getting teachers a goddamn marker.
The problem has so many layers to it. The politicians are part of it, as are the people who vote for these stupid things that aren't actually issues. Voters routinely vote against tax levies even when they can see in plain sight what it costs, and how little they operate on. It's the way we blindly accept that the federal government spends $847 per capita on education but $3,356 on defense. We run teachers out of the profession with low pay and curriculum requirements composed by non-experts. The queer ones can't even acknowledge who they are. With over 9,000 vacancies in the state, can we afford to chase out more teachers? (And if that money isn't spent on teachers, you know, buy the others supplies.)
And putting the duh in Flori-duh, we rank 48th among states for teacher pay at an average of $49,583.
I strongly believe that education is the foundation of a functional society, and I especially appreciate that public education is available to everyone. But we're doing the bare minimum. As they say, we get what we pay for.