Sunday, August 2, 2009

Parents pitch in for schools - inequities arise

As South Florida school budgets shrink, parents step in

As school budgets dwindle, South Florida parents are contributing for classroom supplies and educational programs.


When the teachers at Herbert A. Ammons Middle School needed supplies, the parents delivered.

Cameras for the art department.

Books for the library.

Flamenco dresses for the Spanish club.

The parents bought thousands of dollars worth of classroom goodies for the southwest Miami-Dade school.

``In this economy, you don't want to ask parents for money,'' outgoing PTA President Liz Smith said. ``But that's what we've had to do.''

As budget cuts hammer South Florida schools, more and more parents are pitching in for classroom expenses. Some are spending the summer organizing fundraisers. Others are cutting the checks themselves. ...

``This will exacerbate the differences in the education that children receive,'' said Julian Weissglass, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a national expert on equity in education.

``Affluent families will be able to subsidize their schools. The less affluent families won't.'' ...

The Miami-Dade district recently cut about $166 million from its budget. Broward had a $158 million shortfall.


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