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 Post subject: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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Hi Playground! I usually don't post here but I have a question for people with kids. I got an email this morning from an educational tours company asking me to contribute so an acquaintance's child can go on her school trip to Costa Rica. I don't have kids so I have to ask - is this a thing now? Actually I should subdivide that - a) is a 12 year old getting to go to Costa Rica on a school trip a thing? and - b) is sending out emails asking for contributions for said Costa Rica trip a thing?

I'm not gonna lie, my initial reaction was 'you've gotta be kidding me' and 'hell no'. when I was 12 we went to the planetarium for school trips (and my parents paid the $3 admission or whatever themselves). But I thought I would ask - things have changed a lot since I was a kid, maybe I missed something and these trips and fundraising websites are the usual now... ?

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:49 pm 
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Semen Strong
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My cousin, who lives in the UK, fundraised her senior trip. She asked through FB and emails. So I had a similar reaction to yours :) I guess, that as more and more elaborate trips etc become popular through schools, you have more and more people needing to raise extra funds to go? I think its probably a nice way to get people who love you to group together to get you something you want rather than a lot of gifts you don't

I say donate if you want to and can or just ignore if you don't or can't :)

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:45 am 
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Yeah, this is a thing. We do it at my school, mostly for environmental science students, but anybody can go. There isn't any fundraising for it so it's just kids who can afford it.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:51 am 
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Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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lavawitch wrote:
Yeah, this is a thing. We do it at my school, mostly for environmental science students, but anybody can go. There isn't any fundraising for it so it's just kids who can afford it.

We did this in my high school, er...10 years ago -- trips to D.C. for US history class and Europe for AP Euro. I had no money so I didn't do it! It seems pretty presumptuous to ask adult friends and relatives to chip in unless it was a bday present or something. I mean, those things are a few thousand bucks! I'm a field guide/supervisor for my AP environmental science teacher friend's weeklong trip to Yosemite Valley and his Catalina Island SCUBA trip. They're super expensive, like $1200. As far as I know, there's no fundraising so only the rich kids do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:37 am 
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Baking In The Flavor

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Ok, I am glad I asked. I guess I was just being a crabby old lady and things really have changed! Then again I went to the poor school so maybe the rich kids were going to Costa Rica the whole time and I never knew about it. In my high school there was a school trip to Washington DC that some kids went on (not me) but nothing like Costa Rica for 12 year olds for sure, and no trip company sending out requests for donations that I knew of anyway. Schools are big money makers for companies now! I wonder if these school trip companies are selling trips at inflated prices, like the wrapping paper/cookie dough type school fundraiser companies.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:09 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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I wouldn't feel any obligation to contribute. I fully believe that we should adequately fund education and children shouldn't be forced to sell stuff door to door to support regular class activities, but I don't know when trips abroad became a necessity.. i survived without them!


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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:15 am 
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I had several international class trips as a kid as I was in an English immersion program, but for those of us who couldn't pay for the whole thing, there was a solidarity fund - part public grants, part donation from the families with more means. Either the entire class could afford to go, or no one went.

I think the system described by Stellamarie would make me uncomfortable too.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:24 pm 
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I went to New York and Washington DC in eighth grade, which was funded by my savings account (which was funded by birthday and Christmas checks from my relatives from over the years--I was never allowed to spend them) and I think a few hundred bucks from my grandmother. In sophomore year of high school I went to Germany with my German class and that was mostly funded from babysitting 12 hours a week the previous summer and I think probably some money from my grandmother as well and maybe a few hundred bucks from my parents? So these trips are totally a thing but I think it's really weird to ask acquaintances to help pay for them. It sucks that kids get left out if they can't afford it, that solidarity fund is an awesome idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:36 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I love the idea of the solidarity fund! I think trips are great, and a wonderful way to learn, and I can't imagine how sad you must feel to know that your classmates are doing something great that you can't do because you just can't afford it. And it makes me think of the Veronica Mars episode where there are two students vying for valedictorian and the Kane Scholarship, and the girl who gets it is able to do so because she does an expensive course outside the school for an easy A?

I really find it disturbing that our school systems in the US are funded on a municipal level, so you can have vastly different resources from town to town. Even if we have a "common core" curriculum, the resources and teaching tools can be so different.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:27 pm 
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Nooch of Earl
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My friend used to teach AP European history in a fairly poor school in New Mexico, and took the collective fundraising approach. I guess it was a little easier since basically none of their parents could have afforded a trip to Europe, but they did lots of fundraisers like car washes and things and raised about 2/3 of the money they needed, then he made a Donors Choose project for the rest. That seemed like a decent way to do it (though certainly nobody should feel obligated to give anyway), and I liked the idea that most of it had been their own hard work.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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I am used to seeing things like car washes for kids' sports teams to travel to a competition or something like that, same thing with babysitting, bake sales and mowing lawns. I like those and am happy to kick in a little extra to get them to their goal amount faster. For school trips, I guess I think of a trip to Costa Rica for a 12 year old as kind of a luxury that the family shouldn't do if they can't afford it. This is also a child who I have met once over 10 years ago so I'm not particularly inclined to donate. I didn't like getting an email from the company saying to visit the child's website and donate. If you don't know me well enough to look at me and ask for money then you shouldn't have the tour company send me an email.

I can of course totally see the benefits of the trips abroad that everyone mentioned in the thread, like for language immersion that is fantastic. I wish I could have done something like that in high school! I do like the idea of the solidarity fund so the kids whose families have less money can still go with the rest of the class. It is a really classy way to handle it and nobody gets left out.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:49 pm 
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The bad thing about these trips is they're soooo structured, from when you eat to when you go to sleep, etc. that you don't really get to do everything you want to if you're an adventurous person. Paying for all the nice lodging, food, and salaries of the chaperones really adds to the cost, plus in general they're just a racket since they're trying to make a profit. I was so frustrated with the Yosemite Institute, who led my friend's class trip, because they didn't give you much for all that money. My pals and I convinced him to let us work together to come up with a much more age-appropriate and science-based curriculum as well as figure out accommodations on our own. It totally worked, cost half as much as what the tour company charged while still paying a generous sum to the chaperones, and was really enriching for the kids. We charge the kids the same amount as YI but use that extra money to set up a scholarship fund for students who really want to go but can't afford it. It's a great system!

I think it does teach a valuable lesson to kids to make them work for their trip instead of just getting money thrown their way. I went to a rich HS but my family was poor, so basically all my classmates went on the trip and everyone knew why the rest of us couldn't go. It was embarrassing, honestly. My parents are travel enthusiasts and basically saved for years and traveled cheaply so they could go on a few trips all over the world. I learned a lot from them and saved all through college to go on a backpacking trip through Russia and Japan after my graduation. I think I got a lot more out of that whole experience than I would've on a HS class trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Educational tour contributions?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:51 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I love the idea of the solidarity fund! I think trips are great, and a wonderful way to learn, and I can't imagine how sad you must feel to know that your classmates are doing something great that you can't do because you just can't afford it. And it makes me think of the Veronica Mars episode where there are two students vying for valedictorian and the Kane Scholarship, and the girl who gets it is able to do so because she does an expensive course outside the school for an easy A?

I really find it disturbing that our school systems in the US are funded on a municipal level, so you can have vastly different resources from town to town. Even if we have a "common core" curriculum, the resources and teaching tools can be so different.


If schools are regulated at the federal level, we are all screwed instead of just some of us. It sucks that anybody gets screwed, but at least now some people are governed rationally.

We do not want the Feds doing more than they already do. It's their doing that testing is out of control.

The district I live in pulled Anne Frank from the diary last year because the local religious community complained that discussing menstruation is inappropriate in a high school. Texas currently drives a lot of educational and curriculum policy. Now imagine all of the stuff some states currently opt out of being law of the land.

What should happen is states fund more completely at the state level and the federal governments give money without ridiculous strings.

A flip side though is that currently, the neediest kids get the most. Special education is a massive chunk of budget. Not that I am saying that isn't worthwhile, but it comes at the expense of general Ed. I don't have any idea what the solution is, but as an example, some classes have a team teacher for just 2-3 kids, while general Ed classes have 35 kids to one teacher, and getting worse because some federal funding is melting away (thanks, Obama, your educational policy is every bit as crappy or worse as GWs). I can tell you that once you have more than 25-28 kids, quality of instruction plummets. We have less time per kid, and more to teach be ause they keep adding crepe to the curriculum so they can say we have "rigor."

Our poorest school got a big grant for iPad carts. They were stolen and destroyed within a month. Now nobody is getting them again. The kids just dropped them, and treated them carelessly. (high school) I've stopped using our laptops for the same reason: kids trash everything and I'm sick of reporting damagaed crepe.

Anyway, we don't need fancy stuff. We need reasonable textbooks, and basic lab supplies, and keep the computers in some good comp Sci classes. All this race to throw money at tech is stupid. It's all an offshoot of the modern education attitude that it's up to teachers to engage students and make them want to learn because it's fun. If the kids don't, it's our fault for not being "engaging" enough. It's bullshiitake. I'm all for fun lessons, but at some point, kids need to do things without a clown parade leading the way.

(sorry--grades in today; I'm grumpy be ause I hate the lazy jerk kids who come whining about not having time for my class because they had AP classes but they need an A or Ill ruin their pathetic little entitled lives. Blech. Overall my grades this year are great, but those few kids just poisoned my day)

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