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Need to Fund School Programs? Just Sell Your Kids’ Clothes

Ohanian Comment: This piece artfully digs to the deeper issue of consumerism, the "more, more, more" mentality that invades every aspect of our lives, including pushing PreK kids into more, more, more skills. We've translated the 'you can never have enough' into 'kids can never be smart enough.'

Chris Hedges gave a fine presentation on this "Captain Ahab and U. S. Empire," Missoula, MT, Feb 3, 2014, demonstrating that Moby Dick is an informational text, par excellence. This essay is available at Truthdig and from Alternative Radio, both as transcript and audio.

Don't worry: K J Dell'Antonia's version is much lighter. And I applaud her for it.

Hedges points out that through his chronicle of a whaling voyage Melville offers (in what has to be one of the most informational texts in the English language, "The most prescient portrait of the American Character" --and the inevitable self-destruction that results. Dell'Antonia gives us the 30-shirted kinders, and the picture is also one of inevitable self-destruction.

By K J Dell'Antonia

How's this for a school funding plan?

First, ensure that the school lacks resources for its library, art classes or music education, and chose your favorite target to blame for why it cannot pay for such educational programs: poor allocation of tax funds; overspending on bureaucracy; unfortunate choice by students to be born to parents who fail to live in an area with a sufficient tax base or P.T.O. funding program.

Next, enable many parents to buy more clothing than any child needs. Try making the clothing cheap by relying on labor in countries where manufacturers can get away with paying less than $40 a month for a full-time worker (keeping in mind that whether thatâs entirely a bad thing is debatable). Parents can thus easily put together a wardrobe of 30-plus shirts for our kindergartners, who will wear only three of them, favoring the stained "Angry Birds" version, and enabling us to engage in the next step in the process.

Now, take the remaining 27 essentially unworn and now outgrown shirts and send them to Schoola.com, which will sell them and send 40 percent of the price back to your child's school.

And you thought it was hard to fund a school library.

There's nothing wrong with Schoola. As it says on its website, Schoola "brings new paints to art classes, new instruments to the orchestra, new books for the libraries. Quality clothes get a second life. Parents help parents. Schools help schools." ("Quality" here means unstained and without holes, not sustainably and responsibly manufactured.) More power to anything that helps schools fund "extras" and parents clear out closets. And I'm as guilty as anyone of buying cheap kids' clothes, although I'm trying to change.

But doesn't it seem like something is backward here?

— K J Dell'Antonia with Ohanian comment
New York Times





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