Last month, Huntington Bank and Communities in Schools released their annual BackPack Index. The report’s research, though limited to six mid-western states, show the increase in supplies and after-school activity costs and fees. The report, neatly summarized by Huntington in the screenshot below, begs the question of how parents in low-income communities are keeping up with these expenses. And what about schools that serve mostly low-income students? How are they coping? It’s one thing to have a few students in a school who cannot afford the rising expenses, and it’s another thing to have an entire school community that can’t match or come close to matching these demands.
Presumably, some schools eat the cost so that parents do not have to contribute little to no money. Another likely option is that while schools increase spending for all-things-related-to-standardized-testing, they further decrease spending and limit opportunites in the arts and extra-curriucalr activities. As for school supplies, poor districts are probably also limiting how creative their teachers can be with their lessons, making it difficult for students to get a rich a experience.
The point is: if there are parents and schools that are trying to keep up with the cost of quality, much needed afterschool experiences, imagine the schools, teachers, parents, and students who do not have a cent to offer to stay in the race?
Don’t get me wrong. There are parents and schools who are genuinely financially struggling to have their students partake in social activities. Their are parents who are barely making payments in on time for theit child to qualify to play her school’s first basketball game of the year. Their are parents who will go into their savings this fall to ensure their child has these opportunites. But I’m just shedding light on the students who can’t join their school’s ballet team or practice the guitar at home because there are no savings to dip into. Just a parent(s) working paycheck to paycheck.