What To Do With Those Fundraising Catalogs...
posted by Amy

I was walking Henry home from school the other day, doing my usual oh-so-cool act of not caring what he did at school (because letting him know I want to know what the heck he does for six hours a day will ensure that he tells me not. one. word). So I was surprised when he offered up this tidbit: "We went to the cafeteria and a lady read a book she wrote to us." Wow, I thought. An author! This little school really is using that PTA enrichment money for the right stuff.

And then Henry handed me the envelope full of sales catalogs, and I knew I'd been had. Turns out the author had been there motivating the kids to sell lots of wrapping paper, candy, and other overpriced goods as the school geared up for yet another fundraiser. Sell three rolls of wrapping paper and get a cheap plastic bracelet! Sell a million and get a $10 toy! All, of course, during class time.

I don't, mind you, fault the schools one bit. Neither of the boys' schools would have music, art, or P.E. if both schools didn't have active PTAs and fundraisers. So, with two kids in public schools and one in a small non-profit preschool, we've bought our share of cookie dough and wrapping paper, although we've given up on the Entertainment Books—until they come with free babysitting, those dinner coupons are wasted on us.

But now I know what to do with all those Sally Foster sales catalogs—I'm gonna wrap them up in some of that unbreakable wrapping paper Sally Foster is so proud of (Henry came home from that motivational demonstration wondering why anyone would want wrapping paper that is impossible to rip), tie a pretty bow on it, and send it to the White House, as Sandra Miller suggests. In Get Wrap or Get Whacked, Miller writes, "My thought is to send the whole package to Laura Bush and say, 'Hey, aren't you a mother? Do you not get this? Do you understand that while your husband is out annihilating the fiscal future of our country, we need to sell key lime delights for our kids to have any semblance of an enrichment program? And while you're at it, can I interest you in some London mint Meltaways?'"

I think that's a wonderful idea. Don't you? Now get going—grab those fundraiser brochures that seem to breed on the kitchen counters of houses with school-age children, wrap 'em up, and send them on to our First Lady. Who knows? Maybe she's been craving some of those London Mint Meltaways. And maybe, as a former librarian, she has just the slightest clue that schools without enough books for their students have a hard time with Bush's No Child Left Behind plans.