Recently our county voted down two measures to raise funding for the schools to keep class sizes small and also improve technology and other building related expenses. While most of the teachers I've spoken to were outraged one brought up a really good point. She said that we waste so much money in the schools that people aren't likely to give us more during tough economic times like we are seeing now. At first I was shocked, but the more I thought about it the more I understand a little bit about what she was talking about. The fact that schools must "empty" their accounts and not carry money over lends itself towards wasteful spending. I also think about the way that we use technology and the way we pay for software and I really see where so much money goes.
We spend x amount of dollars per machine for the right to use Microsoft products when there are free versions which compare favorably and are accessible via web and flash drives. Just this money alone would allow us to put laptops in each students hand in a classroom, not force them to share and "team-type" The amount of money we spend on copies is enough to make even a paper manufacturer cringe, and the 6,000 spent on SMART boards when there's a $50 alternative, can't help our case.
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Schools need the money, but we also need to be more aware and conscientious about how we are spending it if we want to make it last and if we want to model conservation during rough times.