Snap: Kids on the Mall

news-mallteemingwithkids Kids returning from a field trip throng the Charlottesville Downtown Mall as buses arrive to whisk them back to Albemarle on Friday at 11:49am. The youths from Agnor-Hurt Elementary were watching a live production of "Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure" put on at the Paramount Theater by a Kennedy Center-based troupe.

Read more on: Downtown Mallfield trip


Not to be disresptful, but it's difficult to participate in the PTO if you're in jail. You'd be surprised how many city parents are.

Democracy will rise or fall based on the equality of PUBLIC EDUCATION !

Pound Foolish, that's a lovely ideal, but a lot of county parents and homeowners are worried about the present reality, in which the scenario you describe does not obtain. By all means, there should be some public funding for charter schools (not necessarily private schools) that offer alternative approaches to education. But that's not where we are right now.

When I started working with the PTO, I had parents asking who is to blame and who they should call in Congress to demand more for schools.

I've come to understand that public education is not free. Even before the most recent budget cuts, I learned that if you want the best for your kids, you should kick in. Even volunteering a couple of hours at a single event of your choice will do. Or find a need and fill it. I believe our PTO needs to take it to the next level, and I'm not sure how, but I know that if we had more participation, we could lift that building off the ground - fact.

For those who are able, make direct donations (earmarked or not), and participate in what interests you: Spring Carnival, Book Sale, Granny's Attic, etc. Buy the wrapping paper (you'll use it all year long anyway, it's good quality, and the PTO makes 50% profit). Pick something you can get behind. Support local businesses that support us.

Our PTO makes substantial funds available to the teachers for classroom-related expenses, money to the principal to use, at his discretion, that is targeted specifically for those in need, and we purchase technology that would never be there if we didn't dedicate ourselves to making the most out of every dollar earned.

Link your grocery cards for the school's benefit - it's found money, show some school spirit (buy the T-shirts or simply show up at an event), and let your child see you are part of the process that will keep these schools as happy and well-equipped as we can make them.

Sorry to say, that's exactly what's happened. Many in this community are sadly ignorant of this problem.

Instead of giving a man a fish, give him a fishing rod --read this article and you may understand why so many young men are ending up in jail --many would prefer a job, I'm sure . One has to wonder what the future holds for the children in this picture.

ââ?¬Å?How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America”

ââ?¬Å?The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come.”

By Don Peck

No need to argue numbers. Commonsense tells us that gated communities and parents with privilege are not a significant issue here ("Perhaps, that is the intent of the refusal to adequately fund these programs in the budget, leading to a smaller overall student population, that is no longer economically diverse." ahh, c'mon now, you don't really believe that, do you?

Some people have found they've become single parents, some have self-contrived excuses why they're disadvantaged, oppressed, and disenfranchised, imo. Parents who don't raise their children or educate them at home (it's not all up to the school) are contributing to the problem - and the cycle continues, and society pays in many ways. At some point, they should be held accountable for that. We've got to save those kids (for their own sake) or deal with the aftermath, but we need to get through to the parents to do it effectively, or at all.

Nancy, in my child's school, most field trips are already not covered in the budget; the PTO's main function is to raise funds to help the school afford any field trips at all. What I wonder is if next year the PTO is going to have to forget all about field trips and shift to raising funds to make it possible to have music, art, and PE at the elementary level, or to pay for a full-time rather than a half-time principal.

That possibility is wrought with problems. as the ability of some PTO's to raise funds, far outstrips others. Unfortunately, I believe, what will happen if the programs you mention are dismantled; wealthy parents will opt out of the public schools for private schools- with smaller class sizes, and more sports and art programming. Perhaps, that is the intent of the refusal to adequately fund these programs in the budget, leading to a smaller overall student population, that is no longer economically diverse.

I wonder if fields trips, such as this, are in next year's budget ?

Field trips were certainly not known to public school children in my day. Growing up in Charlottesville in the 1920’s my single mother had little money, but in those days parents did whatever they could not to send their children to public schools, because no one thought they were very good. I hope this doesn’t happen again in Charlottesville. the saying back then was, nice children didn’t go to public schools ; there was a huge social division,back then, between the public and private schools, are we moving back in this direction ?

Orange County has decided not to pay teachers for athletic coaching positions. They have announced the lay off of 81.5 teachers in June, who have already been informed.

Good way to cut the budget back to where it should be- they all expect to receive funding that they have gotten every year.

Look at private business- they cut when they have to and salaries are frozen or cut regularly- if you don't like it, start the job search quickly. My last layoff took place on a Thursday afternoon and was effective immediately- no time to even complain or whine.

Do they all have air soft guns and some chew.

"economically diverse"

If the school system gave a voucher equal to 80% of the cost of educating a child and took the other 20% and provided scholarships for the lowest financially strapped families you would end up with a smaller more manageable school system and and a lot of well run private schools where the kids can do better.

Win win except for the teachers union.

You're absolutely right: I'm fortunate to live in not exactly one of the richer areas, but in an area where there are a lot of committed parents who don't mind devoting a good bit of their budget to PTO fundraising projects in order to enrich the children's experiences at our school. Not all areas have these resources, so some PTOs aren't able to fund as much as others. And I agree that some parents with the means will send their kids to private schools. But I think it's bad for America to have the gap between the haves and the have-less's widen even more, in the sense that if you have less disposable income, you get a bare-bones education with no music, art, PE, etc; with reduced supervisory attention from a half-time rather than full-time principal; with no gifted programs for highly able kids; with a shortened calendar (even fewer days in school than we currently have); with no school resource officer at the middle and high school levels; and so on.

Pound Foolish -

Oh. I see. Here we go with your flagrant hypocricy mentioned by another poster. You want small manageable private schools - ie schools that don't have to take any an all comers - but other people should open their neighborhood to any destructive selfish rowdie. Then private property rights and small manageable communities don't matter to you.


We're all concerned about the future (like many people, my so-called "retirement" account has gone to hell in a handbasket), and some few of us are out of work, but most of us are o.k. and able to contribute. Our childrens' need is NOW, and it doesn't take much generosity/participation from the parents who can do it to make a difference.

I originally got involved because I didn't want to see the money that was raised with such effort be squandered on trinkets, and I can tell you we deliberate over everything we fund. Parents may attend the meetings and have a voice, or trust the officers of the PTO and the school's representatives, who also attend, to administer the programs to maximum effect. It's serious work, especially now.

PTO Treasurer, I agree with everything you say, but I would suggest that another way to "kick in" "if you want the best for your kids" is to accept a slight increase in the property tax rate (on properties that have fallen in assessed value anyway) as a way of staving off the most severe budget cuts proposed by the school system. I'm happy to buy wrapping paper, etc., in order to have great field trips and extra instruments in the music teacher's room, but the PTO isn't going to be able to pay the music teacher's salary. Or the art teacher's. Or the PE teacher's. Et cetera.

It may sound like heresy to some, but yes, I'd pay more taxes too (Music and Art are important to me - even though I am skeptical that my money would be spent according to what I would consider sensible priorities).

Still, I can tell you from my own experience that not enough parents are taking personal responsibility. Maybe we can't pay the teachers' salary, but you might be disappointed to know that the hallways wouldn't have gotten painted if we didn't supply the paint - the County provided the labor. Small things matter too after all (though our PTO just dropped $10K on technology requests, and that's not small potatoes).

This discussion leads directly into the debate between funding city and county schools. There are far more affluent parents in the county, with the time and financial means to contribute to PTO's and supplement their school budgets. There is a far smaller % pf parents in the city, with either the time or money to do this, and if these programs are to be available to all the City must fund them and cannot depend on the PTO's. When my daughter was in a city middle school, I volunteered to organize an international dinner as a fund raiser, with another parent. We called every family in the school and of those who even had a phone at least half had no biological parent in the home, many were in jail, or treatment, or just gone. So obviously, the population of parents has a direct bearing on the participation in PTO. As a community we should want all children to have these opportunities, not just those in wealty suburbs or private schools. Funding should not be so heavily dependent on local dollars where huge economic discrepancies exist , but education should be funded by state and federal tax dollars, primarily.

About ten percent of the students at my school are in need, and I wouldn't be surprised if some portion of those have family issues too. Even at schools where that percentage is higher, I'd wager there are still many parents who could support their PTO if they would - it's easier not to get involved in the short run, but it's harder in the end. After all, I don't have the time, I make the time.

There's no doubt more parents could make involvement a higher priority. There's also no doubt that some parents -- I guess we could get sidetracked by arguing about the exact percentage -- are not simply lazy but, oh, I don't know, are single parents who work two jobs and have no childcare to get to the events or work parties, have no extra money to buy the wrapping paper, or, are focused on dealing with harassment from an abusive partner, or are grandparents raising kids, etc. More of us should probably have to walk in the shoes for a week of someone in a situation like that.

And I agree with Nancy that it's in everyone's best interest that the children of the uninvolved parents get support from their school community; it's hard to stay inside your gated community all the time, after all.

Yeah, right. If there really are that many of the city's parents in jail, then I guess it's no wonder the PTO is lacking in support, the grannies and single parents are at their wit's end, and the kids have run amok. I guess everybody looks at things through their own glasses.

Hoolarious - "More of us should probably have to walk in the shoes for a week of someone in a situation like that."
They don't need to walk, we, law-abiding taxpayers, carry them (along with feeding and housing them).

Nancy - "Not to be disresptful, but it’s difficult to participate in the PTO if you’re in jail. You’d be surprised how many city parents are."
Why, oh why, is it the people that try to live within the law, and show respect for others, end up taking care of the kids of those that don't? I know it's not the kids fault.