Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

What kind of book costs $70?

One of the things that completely and totally irks me is how our high school communicates with parents. Everything is sent in the mail. Everything. Even things like the school photo forms are sent in the mail. And while they're spending taxpayers hard earned money on postage, do you think they ever double up the various letters, forms, etc. that they send out to families with more than one child in the high school? They do not. Because evidentally the school department has bought the line that everyone in our city is wealthy.

Many parents are exceedingly wealthy. That's very true. But many are not. Depending upon the neighborhood you live in, incomes can vary from minimum wage earners in the North to multimillion dollar sports figures in the south. We have lots of multiple family dwelling untis, apartments, and even some SROs. Our taxes are high, so I guess some of them are wasted on the postage used by the high school. Frugal me cringes every time I see two letters containing the exact same information addressed to The Parents Of. Which would be cheapo old me.

Yesterday was no exception. The two letters arrived and were hand delivered to my bed early Sat morning. I opened one up, and it was (she say, gritting her teeth in annoyance) a form to purchase the yearbook. The $70 yearbook. What the fuck? Oh, and the reason it's $70 is because they have color pages. Big f'ing deal. I graduated from high school in 1970 and we had color pages in our yearbook and it was, IIRC, $15.00 Yeah, I'll give you inflation, but $70 for a high school yearbook? That's outrageous.

Of course, our city living up to it's name of horribly wealthy, is filled with parents who will cough up that money and not blink an eye. Which sucks because I want parents to be astounded by the cost and complain. They won't, and yet again it will be the haves vs the have nots. My kids friends will all have yearbooks, my kids won't. The Boy won't care, the Girl is already upset. What's worse, we have to pay for them by Nov. 1. They don't arrive until June.

What is in this yearbook that makes it more expensive than most college textbooks? Merely photographs (and in color!) and memories. The memories are what kill me. I still have my high school yearbooks, which I look at often. My kids like to look at the photos of my brother when he had hair, something they have never seen. They like to look at photos of me when I was Twiggy thin. They've never seen this either!

I like to show them what makes my yearbook so unusual and such a period piece. I point out the few people that have gone on to be very famous, like Danny Elfman. And I show them the full color page of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the steps of the quad of our high school. We were very hip back then.

It totally pisses me off that I can't buy this kind of stuff for my kids. In middle school the yearbooks were $25 and I got one every year for the Girl. She has every yearbook from first grade on on her bookshelf. She loves looking at them. But high school will be a memory only, with no physical evidence because the school department have their heads up their asses once again, and don't even consider the fact that $70 equals a week of food for most families.

I am hating the rich right now.
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Blogger Karen Rani said...

SEVENTY BUCKS!???? Holy crikey! I thought $40 was out of line. You can't be the only parent feeling this way. You just can't be.

P.S. I like your Bitacle message at the top. :)

23/10/06 7:07 AM  
Blogger eeka said...

Hi, I found you from Universal Hub.

When I was in high school, there was a group (not school-sponsored, but very tied in with the PTA folks) that paid for things like yearbooks, uniforms, field trips, etc. for kids who couldn't afford them. Any family could confidentially apply for funds, most would get approved, and most were regular working-class families (they didn't have to be families with cancer patients in the family or who were out of work or anything). The group solicited donations from the rotary and other similar organizations, but most of the money came from wealthy families in the same school.

Maybe you could start something like this?

23/10/06 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy cow! that's outrageous! IIRC, ours were $15 also. i graduated in 1978.

23/10/06 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in High school (ok, it was a really long time ago), there were always a few extra yearbooks available for sale just in case. Maybe she can save for one by the time they come out.

28/10/06 4:25 PM  

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