Sunday, June 05, 2005

Undemocratic donations

JoanneJacobs blogged Is it undemocratic for public school parents to pay for extras out of their own pockets? In a Boston Globe column, Eileen McNamara criticizes Wellesley parents who tried to fund sixth-grade Spanish classes with donations after voters narrowly rejected a budget proposal that provided money for the program.

In the face of the fundamental inequity in educational opportunity we do not need Citizens to Save Spanish, parents determined to circumvent the will of a majority when they do not prevail at the polls. No matter how committed they are, no matter how worthy their goal, these parents are sending a message that their cause is more legitimate than the democratic process.

That is not a civics lesson our children need to learn.
McNamara says the $380,000 raised by parents "in their failed bid to restore Spanish classes . . . ought to be enough to hire private tutors." Well, sure. Is that better than funding a program that would have been open to all students, even those whose parents can't afford private lessons?

Not only that, but the article also says
The same vote that rejected funds for Spanish also eliminated money for Wellesley's two branch libraries. The Committee to Save the Branch Libraries meets on Wednesday. Bring your checkbook.
So it apparently is undemocratic for public school parents to pay for extras the school system can't afford, but it is perfectly fine to do it to support the Public Library.

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