- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

How much will you spend on supplies and clothing for your child to begin the 2019-20 school year? The anticipated bill for parents is now $519 per child in K-12, according to a Deloitte survey of 1,200 households with at least one kid in school. Got more than one child? Well, you do the math.

Total back-to-school spending is expected to hit $27.8 million, a tad lower than 2018’s $28 billion, said the survey, which was released on Wednesday.

What’s the money going to be spent on?

Clothes and accessories, of course, top the list, with 54% of spending. School supplies come in at 22%, followed by gadgets (gotta have AirPods), and computers and hardware bring up the rear with 11% (iPad and phone chargers, check).



Here’s another school-related reality, culled from reports filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission. The state’s largest union, the 74,000-member Maryland State Education Association, spent $784,000 lobbying the General Assembly to boost school funding.

The ethics panel’s report covered Nov. 1 through April 30 and, as you might imagine, that time period included the General Assembly’s 90-day legislative session in Annapolis. Gov. Larry Hogan and lawmakers agreed to boost education funds by $255 million for the fiscal year that began July 1.

At some point soon, however, school funding will hit the top of the governor and the lawmakers’ agenda. Mr. Hogan, a fiscally conservative Republican, doesn’t cozy up to tax increases and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly will likely push such an agenda during the high-octane 2020 elections.

Gone, long gone, were the simpler times when education mostly meant teaching and learning.

Back in the good ol’ times of a younger Joe Biden, girlish Elizabeth Warren and Brooklyn’s Bernie Sanders at P.S. 147, adults in a schoolhouse dispensed textbooks and their knowledge to students who recorded that knowledge with pencils and pens on paper.

Education spending on the public’s dime is on the rise, no doubt, and much of the push is for change for the sake of change — new schoolhouses, new curriculums, new school lunch menus, new playgrounds and sports fields — and pay raises all around.

No wonder Democrats are saying, “Hey, let’s just give everything away and be done with it.”

Yep, the times are changing again for families as back-to-school season looms. That is, until you consider this: Every penny of those union dollars, that $784,000, would have been better spent had it been put in the hands of classroom teachers who, in turn, could have spent it on the students whose families might not be in position to fork out $519 per kid on back-to-school necessities.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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