Another Good Year

There are thousands of families, just in the two counties we serve (King & Snohomish) who struggle to put together backpacks and supplies for their kids to start that first day of school. So many children out there who have to show up on that first day and explain why they don't have pencils or paper or a backpack. School is tough even when you have everything you need - supplies, support at home, a good teacher, a quiet place to do homework - it goes beyond difficult when you have none of those.

Proverbs 31:20 Ministry has been providing backpacks to the children in the area shelters we serve for several years now. What started out as a hundred to 200 kid endeavor has grown into 602 filled backpacks this year. We had started by learning the first name, grade and school (when possible) of every child we serve and then fill their backpack as per their school and grade's specification. If a child needs 24 pencils, we put 24 pencils in their backpacks.

Unfortunately, costs and need have both grown. The Ministry spent over $10,000 on school supplies this year and had a few thousand dollars worth of donated supplies to use. Without a pretty substantial influx of donations this year, backpacks are in jeopardy for next year. That breaks my heart. It is just so tough for everyone right now and even for those who used to be able to give in such large amounts simply don't have the funds.

What do we do about it? I'm not super-familiar with our public school system and how they spend their money but it seems to me that if we all have to spend about $200 just on supplies to send our children back to school, something is horribly wrong somewhere.

I know there are gazillions of opinions on the topic out there. I also know several people homeschool in part because of the perceived ineptitude of management in public schools. There was a statistic I heard on one of those news magazine shows (Dateline or 20/20 - I can't recall where I heard it) that stated public schools ask for more money and say they can't teach our children on $10,000 per child per year. Private schools do it for about $3,000 per child per year. Where is the difference? What do private schools do - and what can they do - differently from public schools?

Can anyone enlighten me?

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