I went to a middle class high school in New Jersey, a fairly wealthy state. The place where I grew up, a town called Sayreville, famous only for being Bon Jovi's boyhood home, did have, and as far as I know still has, a long history of not supporting the school system. In Asia they know Bon Jovi, but I gently nudge them toward Bruce Springsteen, much less known in Asia by the way.
In Sayreville, all the old people would vote against the school budget, as this was a Sayreville tradition, and their kids weren't in school and voting against school funding got them out of the house. In New Jersey voters must approve the school budget, and they all came from the Bruce Bateman School of Economics. Calling them out on it was the first public imbroglio I was involved in, and it started my general antipathy for the AARP. I was only seventeen at the time, which really irritated the blue haired voters. Little did I know that almost twenty years later I'd still be agitating for greater school funding against an equally intransigent force over here -- though obstinate for different reasons. It is a never ending fight Bonnie.
I actually ended up running for the school board as a high school senior and would have signed my own diploma if I had won. I got trounced largely because I was honest, attacking the old people for screwing the young kids, and that is why I decided to become a journalist, not a politician. Later I found out how silly a lot of journalism was and I was in the wilderness for a while.
This is from the Star Ledger archive 4-26-90, impossible to link directly to, and naturally called "School Budgets Fare Poorly in Middlesex County Vote."
"Sayreville had a somewhat unusual election this year, with two incumbents
knocked out of office and a teen-age candidate, who lost. Jeffrey Turbitt,
an 18-year-old senior at Sayreville War Memorial High School, did not pull
an upset but vowed he will return to the election ring in the future. 'In
four years I shall return,' Turbitt said. 'Definitely, I shall return.'
I wasn't MacArthur, I lied about returning as it "turns" out. None of this is my main point yet. In elementary school we would go on a class trip every year -- the Zoo, the Science Center in Philadelphia, a few Revolutionary War locales, NJ was key in that fight, the United Nations and one of the many New York museums. From seventh grade on, we didn't go anywhere. Zippo. Nothing.
Today, kids get to go all over the place -- even in a broke, won't fund education place like this. Now, a lot of the funding isn't public money, in fact probably most all of it is from fundraising. The funding comes from selling junk food that makes this place so diabetes stricken. This isn't unique to the CNMI. Fund raising via junk food was a staple then and now. Kids on island have gone to Cape Canaveral (Mt. Carmel I believe), Space Camp (SIS). Students here have gone to Guam and Korea on multiple occasions. The entire class from a Japanese high school visits here each year. The mock trial team makes it to various spots in the mainland. NHS has gone to Hawaii, Disneyworld and other locations. My son is going to the Wax Museum and World Resort tomorrow on a school trip. I don't begrudge them this at all, and I'm a firm supporter and believer in field trips. These kinds of activities rank high on Dale's Cone of Experience, a tool that ranks instructional methods. I'm just saying, back in my day we didn't get this kind of stuff.
God, I'm getting old already.