insisted it was his homework to supply QSP/Readers Digest with the names
and addresses of his out-of-state grandmas, grandpas, uncles and aunts.
When I said that no one actually has to participate in fund-raisers, he
looked at me as if I had told him to run out in the street without
checking for traffic. And anyway, he demanded to know, how was he going
to get his free bag of Skittles if he didn't?
I honestly thought he must not have been really listening, that no one
would actually tell a kindergartner it was homework to add Grandma's name
to a junk mail solicitation. But this year I thought I'd better get the
facts, and I sat in on my son's assembly.
To my surprise, you do tell the kids that writing down those names and
addresses and turning them in is their homework. You make it quite a
point, more than once. That is unacceptable. Homework is something we
want our kids to take seriously. They know that failing to do homework
means a lousy report card. My son signed a contract stating that he will
do his homework. Only teachers have the right and responsibility to
assign homework. So call it what it is, a sales tactic or whatever. Just
don't mislead them about their responsibility and diminish what we mean
The sales pitch you coach the kids to say is "help support our
school." Indeed, that is partly true -- if Grandma buys a $17.95
subscription to Yoga Journal, some fraction of $17.95 is given to the
school. According to the QSP Web page, it could be "up to 40% of the
profit." At no point in your presentation do you tell kids that at least
60% of the profits go to QSP/Readers Digest, and that Mr. Weepul himself
is earning some money on that sale.
And another thing: If Grandma can't spend $17.95 to "help our school,"
are we to infer she is not being helpful? It would be easy for a kid
listening to your presentation to jump to that conclusion. And speaking
of "up to 40% of the profit", what does that mean? The fund-raising
packet mentions 40% of the money spent. So which do we get? Total spent
or total profit? What amount of that $17.95 is ours? And who pays for the