My oldest son starts kindergarten this fall, with a start date about two months away. Last week, I received an email from his school with his school supplies list and the opportunity to purchase those supplies now though a district-wide program. In looking at the list, I was reminded of the school supply lists I compiled last year for our Fellows’ children. It was a very different experience.
Our Fellows live in a variety of districts across Bucks and Montgomery Counties, some highly rated, others poorly so. When I called one of the districts in mid-August, attempting to find a supply list for the upcoming school year, I was told that the list wasn’t ready yet and would only be shared with parents. Many other districts, at this point, had posted their lists online in addition to sending it via email/mail. This was mere weeks before the first day of school, leaving the parents with limited time to find the items, let alone the best prices (more often than not brands are also specified on lists).
Now, does a delayed supply list indicate a lesser school or district? No, but it does demonstrate the difference between what parents from one school district to another not only expect but receive. It illustrates the privilege of time for preparation and suggests a school district that is perhaps better resourced, in that it is able to send out this information early and quickly.
This comparison may seem trivial, but it is an example of the small pieces of disparity throughout our communities that compile into uneven playing fields. It is a look at how families in neighboring districts start off the school year - one with time to spare, the other harried through no fault of their own. It is something that we need to remember.
Not every community has the same step up - whether in regard to their school district, access to groceries, access to gas or public transportation and more. That needs to change.