Pay to Play

First off, super excited because it’s my birthday weekend! I’m fortunate enough to be in a place with a great community of English speaking folks. So they will help me celebrate tonight. Tomorrow, I will celebrate with a dinner with my host family and a great representative of the English speaking community, Caroline.

I think one of the over looked policies of the Georgian educational system is the pay for your materials, and therefore your education system. In America, we have as a basic theory of education, that it’s ‘mandatory and free’. I say in theory, because as the budgets for Education gets more and more squeezed, administrations and school boards have to find innovative ways to make ends meet, and some of those ways indirectly means student’s having to pay hidden out of pocket fees.

But here in Georgia, I don’t thing they’ve taken a hard look as of yet to the damaging snowball effect that a lack of wholly subsidized education creates. For the first two weeks, in between classes, I spied scores of parents bunched up in line waiting to purchase textbooks for their students. And more evident in the classroom, most students are ready to learn with their English text and workbooks. But some have only one or the other, and occasionally students have none at all.

Again, I’m not going to count off the myriad of reasons this system is not only limiting but also potentially devastating to not only the child, but also the nation.

But I do want to point out a small example of how it plays out.

Today in my last class of the day, a 2nd grade class, I found out that they were going on a field trip to see a puppet show… in ten minutes. Okay. So after a couple of readings, the main teacher comes in and hustles most of the students out of the room. I say most, because about eight were left with my co-teacher and myself. They either couldn’t, or didn’t pay to attend the excursion to see the puppets. Talk about dejected. Some cried, some pouted, and others simply looked stunned. It was the saddest thing I ever saw. And since there were only eight, she didn’t feel as though we could continue with the lesson. So we sat there… looking at each other.

When they forget to do their homework, they try to hide their papers with their forearm, another book or sheet of paper, so as I won’t notice. It’s harder to hide your whole self.

“Them that’s got shall have
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible says and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own

Yes the strong get smart
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own”

God Bless The Child, Billy Holiday

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One response to “Pay to Play

  1. I’m sad for the kids who missed the puppet show. No games or anything to keep them busy? Boo. 😦

Holla atcha boy!

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