As a child, when I was sick, I would lay in bed watching old black and white shows on the family TV. This was before cable so I watched whatever was showing. Also of note, the family TV had four stations.
I watched a number of police stories as that is what seemed to be on TV in the early afternoon. I enjoyed the suspense and the angles. The drama. Most of the shows had a scene where an inmate would trade secrets, privileges, or wealth for cigarettes. The money system in jail is cigarettes. In my school, the money system is paper.
There is talk of a paper shortage. Departments have started to stockpile. I know my own department, the English department, has consolidated all of our paper in a room so that we can make it last for the year’s requirement of word-processed compositions. And no, I will not tell you where the room is.
These are indeed hard times as Governor Gregoire (Washington) states and everyone is tightening their budgets. I know that I visit the local Red Box for movies less than I did last year, and we are talking about movies that cost $1.15 to rent. I understand that choices have to be made.
However, I have to question: is this the school system we want for our children?
In the end, it is not about a paper shortage. The paper shortage is an indicator of where our values are as a community, as a state. Today it is a lack of paper. Next month it may be reducing PE to only a quarter credit or not at all. Art will surely go next. That band class that everyone loves and cheers during a parade...it will soon follow.
How far can we reduce our schools before they are no longer schools?
It starts with paper but will end with the quality of our children's education. Trust me. It will. You are shaking your head saying that it will never come to that. But it will.
It starts with paper.