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corporate dominance | education | youth

Child labor in the schools?

Is child labor really necessary in schools?
I'm in the fifth grade. We have fund raisers, such as cookie sales and penny drives every now and then, but now it's just gone too far. Now they're making us run something called "the fun run" which, in my opinion, isn't fun at all. My classmates don't think so either. As soon as the rules for this were announced, everyone looked like they were sick to their stomach. For this "fun run", we have to collect pledges of money, either straight up cash, or for how many laps around the gym we run. My teacher told me today that, if we don't collect at least one pledge, that we can't go on any field trips. She said that if we don't work for that money while other kids do, it wouldn't be fair to have fun without paying for it like your classmates. I think it's just sick and wrong to use kids for money.

If this whole fun run thing is on a Friday, there will be a chunk of about 45 minutes taken out of our day as a fund raiser. I figure this by adding up the time of cookie sales (15 minutes) with the whole fun run ordeal (1/2 hour). Fridays always have at least 15 minutes cut out of the day for cookie sales. The schools are so worried about obesity, and then they go selling fat in a package. Not only is it fattening, but it's poison. It rots your teeth, it makes you hyper, and it just gives more money for people to keep on pumping the stuff into children. I personally don't buy any cookies for just this reason. And, just because I don't have enough money.

I understand that schools are on the brink of going broke because all the money that should be going to them is going to blowing up other schools in other countries. But I am here to learn, not to make their money. I've seen inside the school conference room, and I've found out that my school intakes over $25,000 a month. Out of all this money, do we really just need pencils and scizzors and other school supplies? I personally don't care if we get more gym gear or not. I've also been in our PE teacher's closet, and most of the gear in there we haven't even used. I really wish our old PE teacher was here, because our old PE teacher actually used what she had instead of buying new stuff.

Rich people do this very same thing for pleasure. When you take more than you need it has to come from somewhere, often from small third world countries. Children in those countries are working so that people like my new PE teacher can buy stuff just because they want to. Now children in my school are working to pay this off. Is America really free?

Two years ago, a kid was so poor he couldn't pay $3 for a party, and when party time came, he was sent to intervention. Is this really what kids are supposed to learn? Pay up or be excluded? I don't think so. It must feel horrible to be sitting in a small room while you know that your classmates are having fun. I'd hate to know that just because I'm not as rich as some others I can't have the same fun that they do. See? This country really is made just for the rich.

Now do you see what corporate greed and mass production has done? It's put child labor into the schools.

Mongol Dogs that Teach 04.Feb.2004 18:46


"My teacher told me today that, if we don't collect at least one pledge, that we can't go on any field trips. She said that if we don't work for that money while other kids do, it wouldn't be fair to have fun without paying for it like your classmates."

I usually support teachers this one, if true, is an exception. But I would be happy to speak to her as I am sure others would like to, please feel free to have her ID herself so we can meet. See how well she bullies big kids. Sorry you live in a state that is sooooo cheap on education kid. But you have no limit you can do anything you want, you can educate yourself many here will help all you have to do is ask.

i hate fund rasiers too 04.Feb.2004 21:38


when my youngest child graduated from high school i jumped for joy --- no more fundraisers and no more school conferences where some teacher acts like you must be stupid because you are a parent.
anyway, Calvin, my children and i got around fundraisers of all kinds by asking what the average amount of money earned was or what the minimum was --- for example if you have to have at least one pledge, just donate a dollar or two and call it quits. I used to send $5 or $10 rather than have my kids sell candy which we didn't even eat at home and I didn't want to sell to anyone else either.
I figured that way all the profit went to the school and none to the candy company.
there should be a better way and sending kids out to sell stuff or asking them to run themselves ragged is stupid.
And I am impressed with your writing.

...fearing not I'd become my enemy in the instant that I preach... 04.Feb.2004 22:22

bob dylan

It's "MONGREL dogs who teach." and they're not all that bad. I was much younger when I wrote that song, I'm older than that now.

i HATE FUNDRAISERS TOO 05.Feb.2004 02:49


My daughter is in the fifth grade too!! She's a great kid, very socially conscious, and WE DON'T DO SCHOOL FUNDRAISERS. I personally think it's EXPLOITATION, and it's the grownups problem/business, not the kids.

call it induction 05.Feb.2004 06:15

VI Arnold

It's interesting, this whole school fundraiser business. I had never thought about it (I don't really recalll them doing these things back in my time in school). But if you think about it, it jibes perfectly with the current ultracapitalist political economy in the US. These fundraisers can be viewed almost as little mini capitalist bootcamps for aspiring youngsters. Start 'em off early. Induct them straightaway into the whole dog-eat-dog business. Don't meet your fundraiser quota? You don't get to participate in a field trip! It's quite brilliant, and most parents probably wouldn't think twice about it, other than to perhaps admire the brilliance and social usefulness of such an exercise. Same for most teachers. I could see most of them pooh-poohing this youngster's concerns as so much malcontent bellyaching.

Good for you, Calvin! It's good to see at least some of the youngsters aren't yet totally braindead, even if most of the adults are!

One more thing, 05.Feb.2004 08:09

Lips and esparanza (mom)

It sounds to me like this kid who calls himself Calvin is a fifth grader because I am also a fifth grader and had to do this in the beginning of the year as well. I ran because I didn't think I had a choice. I donated one penny because they wanted me to donate something and we are just about dirt poor from medical bills so that's all I could afford. If I decided to boycott the fundraisers they would give me a week's detention and make me go to the head principal's office.

From mom- I can't believe this crap. If I would have known the pressure they put on the kids to generate money, I would have organized opposition. There has got to be other parents that feel the same way in our district. My son was also told by the PTSA teacher that they wouldn't be able to have any field trips if they didn't participate!

a fifth grader responds 05.Feb.2004 08:16

another student with an opinion

I agree with most of what you said. I think the 'fun' run makes me feel like a lab rat.
As the principal walks through the class rooms assigning MORE homework, or should i say more busy work and then pretend, 'just for the parents' to be teaching us something they're not! Acting like they got the college degree for what they're trying to teach, except pulling the answer book from their desk to answer every question, or not answering the questions at all.
Your article says that all of the students who didn't pay money for the stupid parties had to do extra work while the other kids have fun. For some students that is true, just remember not all students are equal.

This happens all over 05.Feb.2004 08:51

Another witness to child exploitation

This system of punishing children for not generating enough funds occurs all over the USA.

At local school fundraisers here in the South, grade school classes have exclusive parties ONLY for the kids who generate above a certain amount of money. Kids who don't generate enough money are banned from the parties, forced into detention. Of course the kids who get enough money are usually spoiled rich brats who sell most of the worthless garbage to their grandparents and other rich relatives.

I never give to such fundraisers. Kids who knock on neighbor doors asking for handouts are a nuisance. If schools need more money, they should cut teacher salaries. Cutting higher ranking salaries such as superindendent is also a good idea. The typical American teacher makes about $40,000 a year, a lot when you consider they get three months vacation plus many holidays, and the supply & demand suggests a lower salary is proper (there's a huge supply of people able to teach).

It's not unusual for a fifth grader to write excellent English and sound more mature than most adults.

On School Funding 05.Feb.2004 10:40

Calvin's Friend

I love all this discussion. I'm especially happy to read all the comments by children. One point that Calvin made that I think is worth repeating is that so much of this spending is going toward unnecessary things. I support teachers, by the way. I think their job is very important (if they do it well). But I agree with Calvin about taking more than we need. Lots of shiny new plastic gadgets aren't going to help "educate" kids. Consumerism is at the heart of this problem, and is one lesson that should be dealt with in a far different manner in schools. Instead of teaching children to be voracious consumers and showing them how to exploit the young to get more stuff, why not talk about how to do it yourself? Why not teach them to use their own resources rather than running them in circles to get more more more?

There's also the issue of corporate commercialism in the schools. The Campbell's soup drives, the nabisco box tops drives, the otis spunkmeyer cookie sales, the krisy kreme donut sales, the cheese cake and candy sales, the soda pop machines in the hallways, and good old channel 1. I want corporations OUT of my child's school and OUT of my child's textbooks. The milk industry, the meat industry, and the timber industry have all insinuated their interests into "learning materials" distributed at schools in this area. Brand names and corporate philosophies are vying for a place in our classrooms. I'm tired of it. I want it out.

EXcuse me? 05.Feb.2004 12:13

lucky weda

"If schools need more money, they should cut teacher salaries. Cutting higher ranking salaries such as superindendent is also a good idea. The typical American teacher makes about $40,000 a year, a lot when you consider they get three months vacation plus many holidays, and the supply & demand suggests a lower salary is proper (there's a huge supply of people able to teach). "

I don't think that teachers salaries need to be cut. There ARE some teachers who put in a lot of extra work and deserve a better salary. They get holidays and weekends, but they are usually grading papers. Not to mention that class sizes have increased to about 35-40 students in most classes. I thought the ideal class size ( for public education, anyway) was 25-30. As for the huge supply of people of teachers...yeah right. First of all, it takes someone who is really interested in teaching, they have to have knowledge on the subject, and teaching experience is a definite plus. Most teachers attend a sort of School of Education at a university. Unfortunately, some of these classes are not teaching future teachers what they need to know. A great advance, in my opinion, is alternative certification. It takes less time and people who apply for it have a true interest in teaching, not to mention longtime experience in another career, in some cases. (an excellent book on education is "Choosing Excellence" by John Merrow and Jonathan Kozol).
If kids are collecting 'box tops for education' (how pathetic), or running laps for an incomplete education, there is something really wrong. This one is higher up. It's not about cutting teacher salaries or superintendent salaries, but about being an informed voter. Voting is a right and a privelege; voters should do as much as possible to educate themselves and then vote! I am really sorry to hear that measure 30 did not pass. I know that Benton County was the only county for it, I can understand that money is tight for a lot of people, but still. Maybe we could try passing a measure which gives counties the right to vote on how their taxes should be spent? So that they can put money back into the community, instead star wars programs and war mongering. ...Someone please tell me that they share my feelings on this subject.

HEAR! HEAR! 05.Feb.2004 12:31

lucky weda, again

I totally agree with 'calvin's friend on school funding'! It really is just a vicious cycle. The flavored milk (yes, it's true, in rainbow colors) sold in the vending machines in the highschools and the soda, and the chips, and the candy, (this all sounds so unhealthy, doesn't it?) are supplied by corporations. Our government gives corporations huge tax breaks and funding, subsidies (that's not even true capitalism). But they still manage to cut funding for education. Why should we even pay taxes? (please, I know all the 'logical reasons', like "who would pay the police officers?")
Some fella called up KBOO and was talking about a group that decides where their taxes go. Does anyone have any information on this? I personally don't want my taxes going towards murdering and miseducation.
And another thing, yes children ARE intelligent. I am sick of being treated like an infant. I'm sick of responsible and intelligent people being looked down on because they are under eighteen. Or when students (in Portland, for example) oppose cuts to their education and are thrown into a cell for it. Please respect the underaged and their future, we want a future to look forward to, so please listen to us.

Apathy in the 5th Grade...never too young to start 05.Feb.2004 13:31


I am a graduate of the public school system in Oregon, albiet i graduated from grade school in 1991 I still have some memories that pertain specifically to Calvin's article. I too did the "fun run" to raise money for my school. I too had to go door to door and collect money, either a flat amount or a price per lap to be paid afterward. I too know what it is to be a part of a school struggling to maintain levels of decency in the classroom, lunchroom, and gymasium. However, maybe it was because I am from a different generation than our current 5th grade hero Calvin, but a little hard work never scared me to the point of pointing the "child labor" finger at the administration, teachers, or my parents. Kids are being asked to run around a gym to raise money for their school, is this the worse thing we are asking of our students? We still make them do their homework right? I was an athletic bigger and heavier kid than all the rest of my classmates, (and it is well known throughout the world that tubby kids hate to run) but I still would have prefered spending a half hour raising money for my school than taking a long division test. I know, I know...math is important and should not be trivialized. But my point here is this; are kids nowadays so politically correct, so jarred by the concept of hard work, so unwilling to put forth effort that instead that raise a call to arms against those who are forcing them to do something they don't want to do? I may be a young buck, in the long run anyways, but let me tell you something I have learned in my few years on this planet. It don't get any easier kid, and it never will.

On Apathy 05.Feb.2004 15:21

Calvin's Friend

Trust me, Katinker, fighting injustice is a lot harder than going with the flow and running around the gym a few times. You missed Calvin's point. The point is, our children are not stupid, and they're not for sale. Try as our schools might to sell them to the highest bidder, they are NOT for sale. Calvin is trying to wake you and the rest of us up to the fact that children are being callously used in the schools in an endless cycle of fundraisers. The school is not the only beneficiary. Children are asked to peddal products from candy and cookies to toys and wrapping paper. They're asked to collect coupons and boxtops from certain products. There's a corporation making $$ off them at every turn. This is what exploitation is: Using the vulnerabilities of others to profit yourself. Children in schools are a captive audience, forced to do the bidding of corporate america by witless and cowed authority figures. And those authority figures are at the mercy of continuous cuts in funding. (This doesn't excuse them, however. They should know better and they should fight for the children. And, they should take Calvin's advice and make do with fewer consumer products and more enlightenment.)

????? 05.Feb.2004 15:33


These young people are not being asked to plant trees on the schoolgrounds or volunteer their time reading to younger students to raise money. They are mandated to run around the gym X amount of times. They aren't being asked to do twice the amount of homework to raise money for new school supplies, just run around a room or a track. Plus, they are asked to solicit contributions from family and friends only. They are not supposed to ask for donations house- to- house or from businesses. The school gives prizes to students whose families are more able to contribute money and penalizes students that are less able, even though everyone is required to run. After Calvin posted his experience, I asked my son about his and was shocked. I talked to our school district superintendent to voice my complaints. My son's school used their fund-run monies to purchase....drum roll, please...NEW T-SHIRTS and playground equipment. Not books, not computers, and definately not field trips. So, what does this teach them? Rampid consumerism is worth more than education. Competition is the key to making money. Sports have a higher priority than people. And , of course, those with less are worthless.

I have to agree with Lucky Weda 05.Feb.2004 15:34


Can't we pass a measure that calls for the revocation of federal income tax and puts it into schools, heathcare, social services... shit anything but more bombs and huge salaries for supposed representitives who don't represent? How about free coffe houses? how about the arts? How about we just keep the damn money and boost the Oregon economy... or whatever state you happen to live in. How about we don't send state money to the federal government and we use it to help family farmers and protect the environment... I think that on a local and state level there is enough cash to manage the roads as well as all of our infrastructure and we would have a more engaging democratic process to boot. Fuck the federalies... and fuck the capitalist dickheads who want to use the kids as sales reps...

Mafia run schools 05.Feb.2004 16:49

Converse Murdoch umlaut@idir.net

You ain't seen nothing yet Calvin. It sounds like your school is being run by Mafia Inc. They specialize in using kids to rob people. In the late 1800's The Mafia would kidnap kids, chop their fingers off, and send them to their parents with ransom notes. That's really the background of the people who run your school.

Here's a list of some of the things The Mafia does when they take over a school.

They get the math teachers to give the kids catalogs and order forms for Star Trek parephenalia and tell the kids to pick out all the items they like, and see if they can add them up correctly on the order forms. You may get a bunch of junk and a huge bill for stuff you didn't know you were really buying.

The PTA will run off a bunch of cheap copies of educational videos and try to sell them to the parents for thirty bucks.

They will give the kids charge cards for the cafeteria. You go through the lunch line and hand the lady the card at the end of the line. You don't see the price that goes on the bill and the people who get the bills don't see what you got. They have the cashier machine set up to automatically inflate the price on certain items. They are really pushy about collecting on these cafeteria bills. If you don't pay on time they may put a mark on your hand to stigmatize you and remind your parents they better pay up on the inflated charges. It's called racketeering and it nets huge amounts of cash. You may see some of the cafeteria workers driving brand new luxury cars.

The child psychologist studies ways to increase pressure on the kids to maximize the return on fundraisers. They will offer you toys if you sell seven hundred bucks worth of gift wrap. They will tell you that unless you sell at least a hundred bucks worth of gift wrap nobody in the class will get ice cream on fridays and it will be your fault. They have a whole bunch of ways to put intense engineered psychological pressure on the kids to come up with really big amounts of money. There is no accountability on this fundraising money and a lot of it comes in as cash.

Since it is an organized crime operation you may see a couple of sleazy looking characters showing up every week and walking out with a suitcase. They're the guys who pick up the cash for the local Mafia chieftan. See if you can spot them.

They will have corrupt Mafia cops come to school and introduce you guys to drugs and show you the parephenalia to do it with. Your homework wil be to learn how to spell heroin and cocaine. It's called D.A.R.E.

I am not making this stuff up Calvin. It's real.

Mom of twins in fifth grade 05.Feb.2004 19:08


I have worked in the classroom as a teachers aid and I believe the system has become so bureaucratic and unresponsive at the elementary level that it borders on comedy, yet it is really tragic what has happend to our children at such a younge age.
I try as much as I can to ignore the propaganda and the political correctedness and reach to the individual child whenever possible and share wisdom and compassion when appropriate and clear boundaries when necessary.
What I see is the parent not having any idea of how bad the emotional enviroment is in the public schools and I blame this on deliberate deceit on the part of those who issue these federal mandates and micro-manage the teachers at the local level.
Children know when they are being fed a dishonest product and that is the crux of the problem.

Hey calvin and any one else under 18 come to SAA!!! 05.Feb.2004 19:48

Student Activist Alliance member

If any one wants to get involved with these youth issues or get help. Come to the portland Student activist alliance. Most all of the kids that go there go because they where inspired from the awfull situations they witnessed in the portland public school system. A roll call of exampples inclue:
CIM and CAM state standard testing
Coca cola sponsorship and censorship
corrupt drug dealing security guards
designated underage smoking areas
no clean water from pipes/must buy it from coke
selling off sport fields to developers
not enough school days/in class hours to make a legal diploma
child labor-cookie sales -magazine sales -"fun runs"
ya know just small stuff

any way come to the S.A.A. they are all about yout rights
they meet wensdays in the Enviromental Middle School (aka abernathy) auditorium at five o' clock
2124 se orange portland or 97214

Peace Love Solidarity and YOUTH POWER!!!


calvin's grammy 05.Feb.2004 20:26

guess who

Believe you me, Calvin is quite capable of writing the original posting. He is one of the best reasons I know for uplifting our educational system from serfdom to nobility, and not because he is my grandson but because he is an intelligent thinking person who is one of millions of children who should be HONORED and not set to work on the streets to replace the taxpayers' obligations and duties. Has no one mentioned the OBVIOUS dangers in sending our children to strangers' doors to beg for funds? You need only read the newspaper to see that in broad daylight someone can snatch an 11 year old girl from the streets. How much easier to snatch them from their own front porches. Shame on those who vote against school bonds again and again.

It goes something like this..... 05.Feb.2004 21:56


" I look forward to the day when education is well funded and the military has to hold a bake sale to build more missles. "

connections 05.Feb.2004 22:09


Another thought.....I have been accosted time and again at work by parents selling items their kids were supposed to sell. Not too bad, except that those with connections and time to hit up fellow employees make their kids look like heros, while parents working minimum wage jobs with no time to spare cannot compete with the system. If the boss is selling stuff, even those earning minimum wage would feel obligated to buy. This whole idea of funding by child labor is just nuts.

watch out that your choice isn't exploited 05.Feb.2004 22:24

unbridled artist

"Using kids for labor". That's the kind of method that the early war against all child labor used, even though many kids WANTED to work, they just DIDN'T WANT to be exploited and used. People who are completely against all involvement by kids in working (a way in which kids can find independence) will use hyped-up words to make it sound as if they are "on your side".

This is where intellectual self-defense comes in. You learn to become conscious of hype. Of how words are used to mobilize and influence. Good luck to you!

The site I've linked to, btw, has more information of a youth liberation nature. You and others may find it valuable!

CALVIN, 05.Feb.2004 23:36

Migratory Bird

I know that this is off topic. But I want to take the opportunity, becuase so many people have made such a big deal about your age (perhaps they are uncomfortable by thinking kids can read and grasp what they still have difficulty with understanding) to ask you some important questions.

I know that there are a few youth readers at this site who are regular contributors. This is good. But I would like to see more youth involved in more intergenerational activities with indymedia.

1) what do you like about indymedia?
2) what would you change?
3)Does the language ever bother you? Have you ever been made uncomfortable by images or language on indymedia? (I could be guilty..)
4) What would you add to indymedia to make it more accepting of youth and youth topics?

I know these are broad questions and not very specific so they may be difficult to answer. I am not looking for anything specific, I just would like a youth rating on PDX IMC.

PS It was brilliantly written. You have true talent. Your points are well made and difficult for anyone to argue. Hence the debate on your age...


Kirsten Anderberg sheelanagig@juno.com

This issue has been pissing me off for decades. I was on the front page of the Seattle Times complaining about just this topic in 1990. The literal prostitution of our kids for school money is sick. The idea that corporations are using our children as free labor is illegal. These sales program disenfranchise the poor from school activities, it is just a f*cked up system. My son was only in the 1st grade when he was told if he only sold $500 worth of Christmas wrapping paper for the Seattle Public Schools he could win a Walkman which was displayed in the case at school for him to ogle daily. I complained re separation of church and state so they added Star of David wrapping paper and acted like it was solved! Later that year, they wanted my kid to pimp out some corporations flower bulbs. I called the school and complained that again, the poor could not participate yet this was going on during school time. I said it was not equal opportunity for the prizes. So then a corporate salesman from the company called me and said HE WOULD TAKE MY 6 YEAR OLD OUT DOOR TO DOOR TO GIVE HIM AN EQUAL SELLING OPPORTUNITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the HELL??!!! I showed the principal and school superintendent the Seattle School Guideline sthat says CLEARLY no graduated prizes may be displayed or given for fundraising...so you cannot give walkmans to those who sell more. The guidelines say you can give things without monetary value such as a pencil or patch with the school logo, but you cannot give a pencil to one kid who sells $10 worth and then a walkamn to the kid who sells $300...that violates its own guidelines...so what did they say to that? That those were only SUGGESTIONS of how the school COULD run in the Seattle Public School Guidelines!!!!!!!

The final straw came when he was in 5th grade in Seattle, and the class was being forced to sell chocolate for some corporation this time. The prize was a skating party fo rthe whole class if each kid sold $50 worth! I called the school and said we were low income and I did not agree with having kids sell corporate products anyway, and they said fine, my kid could just sit in the principal's office on the day that his whole class went skating all day as their prize. I pulled him out of the Seattle Public School district at that point and home schooled him. It is bullshit that we have all this money for wars, but cannot feed the poor or pay for schools.

At the time they were pimping the kids out selling corporate crap, I ran a children's hat business, selling 100% cotton homemade children's hats. I said to the schools that if they were going to have free labor selling via kids, I wanted in on the action and wanted them to sell my hats door to door!!!! I think it is interesting that the schools only play these games with corporations not local crafters, etc...It is GROTESQUE is all I can say. Shame on America for making its families beg for school money while the govenrment does not flinch at spending and spending on things like the Blue Angels who waste money so fast it is insane...

You Go, Kristin 06.Feb.2004 07:04


Wow, man. You go.

Josten's and Girl Scout cookies are other exploiters of our children 06.Feb.2004 07:20


Josten's is a big company that uses many clever tricks to extract money from children and parents for class rings, student photos, yearbooks, cap & gowns, etc. Their prices are way too high. One trick is to discourage re-use of high school cap and gowns by very slightly altering the color each year. Anyone who doesn't use a new gown stands out. There are many alternatives to the products and services they sell, but the schools stick to Josten's. Why?

The Girl Scouts have become a role model for how to use child labor, in this case selling over priced cookies. A little bit of the income is kept for the GS, but most of it, basically the full retail price of comparable cookies, goes to the cookie distributor.

In both these cases parents could opt out and find much cheaper alternatives that would save them money and acheive similar results.

Great Thread 06.Feb.2004 09:30

A couple o comments

Nice work, Calvin. You're onto something here that is making a lot of people think.

I wanted to comment on a couple of posts above. First, to Migratory Bird. I applaud your desire to make indymedia inclusive, and your nice words to Calvin. However, I wonder if you've thought about the way your questions are putting him on the spot? He's an individual, who is also a child. But he doesn't represent all children. I know you didn't mean it to be condescending, but it's almost like asking an African American person to speak for all people of color. (As in, "So. What do people of color think about this?") Maybe talking about the issues Calvin has raised in this thread, and then writing your own article in which you ask any children on this site what they think would be a better way to find out what you're looking for? Again, this isn't intended to be a slam, because I do like the way you're interested in what children think. (Unlike the few trolls who can't get past their own stereotypes about who children are.) Just a thought to share.

Second, to Mother. You know, I hadn't thought of that before. I agree with Calvin completely on the issue of school fundraising in which child labor is used to sell corporate crap. But I never really thought about the Girlscout cookies in that way. Wow. You're right.

You know, I think one thing they could do is, at the very least, bake the cookies themselves so some corporation isn't profiting off the sweat of children.

And to the ayn rand person, I think you've completely missed the point. I'm not sure, because your snotty and unproductive sarcasm makes it hard to discern exactly what you're trying to say. But it seems to me that you're thinking people don't recognize that school districts are over-worked and in need of some kind of support. (Forgive me if I have misread that, but your ineloquence left few clues. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you're interested in furthering the discussion rather than just slinging insults.) This thread isn't, for the most part, about a lack of respect for schools. Indeed, most of what is written here is about wanting to see schools supported in more stable ways that don't involve child labor. Is that really too much to ask?

Almost all of the comments here have really given me a lot to think about. Thanks to everyone! Especially Calvin.

SAA... 06.Feb.2004 10:56


Hello Calvin, Sally here from SAA (Student Activist Alliance). You should totally come check out our meetings: Wednesdays at 5pm EMS (Environmental Middle School) which is off of 12th and Division. We would love to work with you and help you out if we can, and we need some cool people like you to keep this group going when we graduate in the next few years. You seem to be a very cool person and I look forward to meeting you sometime, bring some friends! You can contact me at  GreatAuntSally@hotmail.com if you have any questions.


JAMES? 06.Feb.2004 14:41

an SAA-er

Hey james from up there....with the pictures, what is your contact info? I would like to email you some info.

How do we get them out of the schools? 06.Feb.2004 16:46


Wow, Calvin, look at all the controversy! Lots of discussion. (By the way, I loved your narration in A22.) So we all seem to agree that the use of captive child labor to peddal corporate garbage in the schools is wrong. Now what can we do about it? I suggest that people share this article and the accompanying thread with teachers and school districts when the fundraiser issue comes up. And I LOVE the SAA. You guys rock. You're always finding creative solutions. What else can we do? Any ideas, anyone?

Solidarity not separation 06.Feb.2004 18:47


Why, Migratory Bird, would youth want censorship on IMC? A youth "rating" sounds patronizing. Like they have to sit at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving. The posting from SAA states that they are trying to move towards freedom of expression, not away. How about letting someone that cares about the language and content on IMC (nomatter what their age) post it and then it will be discussed. As a parent, it makes me angry when people try to protect my children from language and issues. I am happy that there is representation by younger people on IMC and I hope they continue using it, especially if they disagree with something posted or the language used.

An idea 06.Feb.2004 18:57

Converse Murdoch umlaut@idir.net

Organize a student union and tell these fundraising jokers that each student should get 50% of the gross amount that they sell. In addition each student should get at least minimum wage for their time even if they don't sell anything. This is fair and reasonable deal.

Also demand cash compensation from the fundraisers for the time that they take from your education with their fundraising crap. Figure what it cost the community to have a student sit in class for an hour and ask them for that much money up front for your time listening to their promotional pep talks. That's what these guys are really stealing from you.

Demand workmans compensation insurance, paid holidays, and health benefits.

These companies that do these school fundraising deals take fifty percent of the gross. Just remember in your negotiations that they need you more than you need them. Believe it !

to the kids: don't mourn, ORGANIZE! 06.Feb.2004 19:54

Joe Hill

to the kids: don't mourn, ORGANIZE!
Read up on the history of worker self-organization in this country a little. Learn about the strategies that you can use to organize and bargain collectively! If the school administrators are trying to make proletarians out of you, than you can damn well embrace it, be proud of it, and organize yourselves and act in solidarity to make your own demands!

to the ayn randie:
As a matter of fact, probably the majority of us around these parts are radicals, and believe that the working class IS in fact entitled to the fruits of its labor: in this case, that would be the kids who have to go out scraping up dollars for school districts. Most of us think that the workers should organize and bargain collectively, and eventually assert their control of the means of production for their own benefit. We tend to think that capitalists are a parasitic, vestigial social class that played an important role in the early development and formation of modern industrial society, but that, at this point, they have worn out that role and are now primarily an obstacle to further social advancement. To us, this is not backwards looking bellyaching; rather, these are practical observations that suggest a positive and progressive strategy in the here-and-now!

beat them at their own game 06.Feb.2004 22:21

outplay..outwit...ya know

opt out of fundraising by religious exemption....they can't discriminate against you.....they will probably hate you, but will have to let you join in the classroom activities

What??????? 06.Feb.2004 22:45

Migratory Bird

I truly was interested in the orginal posters ideas about indymedia. I have asked people who are of different orientations, genders etc to speak up about how they think the site makes them feel. I am very curious. You can always choose not to respond to anything I said or asked.

I think that the poems I have posted by youth which do include cussing obviously show where I feel about the issue. Does this orginal poster speaker for all youth? Why would they? The idea that this youth would is rediculous. Maybe why people are attacking me is that I spoke to this youth as an equal, of which they are in all respects. Mentally, emotionally, and all. This youth is obviously astute, and expressive. I was hoping to read a little more of this younger persons thoughts and feelings.

In our country youth are often disrespected, talked over, and patronized. Look how many so called adult parents needed to reprimand me for asking this youth about their feelings and thoughts about indymedia.

It is my hope that you will remain a youth activist.

I only want to know more about how you feel. I genuinely do care about your contributions, your ideas, and your imput. This is why I asked. I hoped that you would feel free to share honestly. If you do not feel comfortable or interested in doing so I understand.

Listening to children and elders... 07.Feb.2004 14:13

D. Willow D'Goddeeze

I think the bottom line here is that children are not often valued for their wisdom and concerns in our culture. There is an unfortunate disbelief in the power and knowledge of young people, and that concern reaches out to our elders as well. Consumer-ism is a nasty addiction that has blinded many people to their hearts and the truth of this American life. I just want to honor you, Calvin, for your strength and vision. In order to create positive change within our communities, each of us must be willing to speak up --- regardless of age, height, weight, heritage or income level.
Money is just one form of abundance...when people are willing to really "give it up", share what we have and let go of "things" that create the illusion of comfort and wealth---then, we will really not buy into the system of "power-over" and domination...I support "power-from-within" , may we each learn to speak our truth.

um 08.Feb.2004 22:03

if yer not a youth activist

What kinda activist are you?

those who arnt fighting for and with the genorations of tomorow and today are doing what?
when im 100 ill be a youth activist

again 08.Feb.2004 22:06

- -

and you dont have to be under 18 to join SAA
you just can be young at heart!

Teachers pay? 09.Feb.2004 00:29


Nice job Calvin.

And to whoever made the comment about teachers pay at 40K a year being to much??? Give me a break... these are our children's education we're talking about. If you want to start cutting the pay of public employees, how about starting with the US Congress? They take much more time off than most teachers at four times the income. And the last time I checked, haven't done a thing to earn a nickel...

Go Calvin 09.Nov.2007 07:36

Marilyn Rose Douglas

I haven't completely finished the article, but I couldn't agree more. I am the mother of two children and I am so sick and tired of all the paperwork that comes home for me to read..."in my spare time" about "more money... more money". We have been having some tough financial times... like a lot of people. Maybe I should start a fundraiser for "ME ME ME" and put all the money in the bank, buy some new computers and P.E. equipment, and start a home school. I feel I, my husband, and children have been bled to death by the public schools...for $$$$$$. Furthermore, if a child is in school for a certain number of hours, each day, how much time should they spend on homework every night. If school comprises 8 hours of a child's day... then they are working a full-time job. Aren't many schools breaking child labor laws! Can a young person even find time to play, do a few simple chores at home-- for the family-- not the school, sit down-- once in a while-- talk and commune with the family over a tasty meal, and read a book, just for the joy of reading a good book.
We have had a fund raiser at our elementary school, for quite a few years now, where a student can wear a hat for a day IF...they bring in 50 cents for a fund raiser for kids with cancer. Now, I think it's great to collect money to help kids and people of all ages with cancer, but why the negative "punishment" to go along with it. It sounds like this to me: "If you don't bring in 50 cents, you can't wear a hat, and you will stand out, like a bad guy, to all your fellow classmates, and everyone will think you're a creep because it will be obvious you didn't bring in 50 cents to help kids with cancer, you bad person, you." Why not just make all the young people who don't bring in 50 cents wear a "scarlet letter" on their shirt. Aren't there better, more polite ways to ask for money, ways that don't involve hurting a young person's self-esteem. I think many fund raising methods are down-right psychologically abusive! There, I feel better now. Thanks for the great article. Makes sense to me.