All the while I have to show up in my classroom every day to face the sadness on my students' faces. "Where is our counselor going to be next year? What about after school sports? Will you still tutor me?"
These are the voices of my charges, those who have consented implicitly to in loco parentis. But how can I effectively take the place of their parent without the resources I need? The answer from my superintendent and governor: do it anyway. And, as it turns out, I might not be in much of a different situation than their parents: with a poverty rate of 28.4% their parents have to "do it anyway" as well.
Over the past few years I have learned to use resources like DigitalWish and DonorsChoose.org for even the simplest of resources (pencils, paper, rulers, etc). How can President Obama announce that he wants Wifi in every school in the United States when we don't even know if we have enough textbooks for each student to use? As Ronnie Polaneczky eloquently stated, This Isn't School. When the gaps in public education have become Grand Canyons, we teachers can no longer pick up the slack - and nor can the parents.
Meanwhile, the new reform group, Philadelphia School Partnership, announces yet another new donation in a charter school in the City of Brotherly Love. Perhaps we could get some Brotherly investment in the regular public school system as well?
If we as a city, state, and country truly believe in public education, we will follow the eloquent words of James MacCalister, "Schools that do not cost a great deal are not worth a great deal."