Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The unkindest cut

Cinco de Mayo. 5-5-05. That is my Charlottes birthday. Molly was born on 5-6, so this weekend, I am required to make two cakes, two special dinners, and put up streamers, and balloons, like I always do. May 28th is Olivia's birthday. Thank goodness we have a reprieve from cake for a few weeks.

 May is expensive around here. I laughed to myself the other day, when Charlotte handed me a list of things she wanted. I told her it wasn't Christmas, and she would most likely wind up disappointed on her birthday if she thought she was getting everything on her list. She shrugged and walked away. I really hope she got my message.

 We already cut out birthday parties. I'm all for birthday celebrations like the ones I had as a kid. A cake, (in my case it was lemon meringue pie) and one gift. I got to have soda on my birthday too. That was a pretty big deal on Tulip Grove Drive. My mom wouldn't even let us have American cheese. Anything with BHT, BHA, artificial coloring, or preservatives was banned from our house. I didn't have a Twinkie until 4th grade!

Cuts are necessary. We just cut cable and our home phone. Trimming the fat will definitely help out our monthly "budget". ( I use that term loosely) I find that when we make a cut, the gods of savings look down on us, and laugh, replacing it with a bigger expense, so really, we wind up still paying out the same, and never quite saving what we thought we were going to. It just gets moved around. Like a shell game. What coconut shell is that extra $100.00 under, and where will it need to disappear to this month?

Charlotte and Olivia love physical education at school. LOVE it. And they both adore art. Olivia came home with a painting of the Delaware Water Gap. It is breathtaking. Painted in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. Five or six swirling suns in a darkening sky of blue rippling clouds moved me when I saw it, and made me realize, more than ever, how very hard every teacher works.

This economy, for lack of a better word, sucks. They report improvement in it, but I have yet to see it on my end as of this writing. And most, if not all families that I know, have been rocked by it. Saying no to my girls is something that we have to do. We can't indulge them. That would be irresponsible, and what kind of adults would we be helping to form? But with this shell game that my family keeps playing, so to is the repetition of the word no. No to parties. No to dinners out, and clothes shopping. No to new sneakers this month, and sorry, I can't pay for you to order books. They'll live.

But how do I explain Physical Education being cut. Or tell Olivia, with her love of singing, that Music might be gone. My girls school, the Monroe County School District, is considering some pretty serious stuff, due to a reduction in funding. They are considering cutting teachers. Increasing class size. Half day kindergarten. Elimination of educational courses and extracurricular programs. Even school closings!

This is the unkindest cut. We cannot play a shell game with our kids future. It simply isn't responsible. Our children are our future. We cannot allow them to suffer. They deserve a quality education. Nothing less. So May 15th, and 16th, call or e-mail your legislators and the Governors office. Our legislators need to hear from their constituents that education is a priority to them!

No one ever beats the shell game.


  1. My two younger sisters and I have birthdays the same week in October. One of us was allowed cake, the other two had to choose between other desserts to avoid cake burnout. I always went for pie, another sister went for ice cream cake if it was an option. If there was a party, we either all shared in it, or if it was a standout year (like my sweet 16), you might be lucky enough to get your own party. Maybe.

    Education cuts infuriate me. We have been mostly spared here, but we took a huge hit in state funding this year that is permanent. The city was able to make most of it up this year, but they are already talking about it being a problem next year and from here on out.

  2. I hear ya. My bday is also cinco de mayo! 5-5-75. so obviously is my twin sisters. Jack's bday is May 26th, and Ryan's is May 29th. May is the month of cake cake and more cake! We are having a backyard combined party :)

  3. The East Stroudsburg School Distict is also trying to pass a "Pay to Play" fee for any child who wants to play a sport and/or join some sort of after school club. What happens to the kids who can't afford it? Aren't sports and activities proven to help keep many kids off drugs? I've read studies where the arts help children learn better and retain knowledge.

    I don't understand why our superintendents, principals, etc are making 6 digits while our kids have to suffer the cuts in the arts and sports programs?

    When is the government going to learn that teaching is the single most important profession on the planet?