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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The pallets

A teacher friend told me there was something in the back of the school that I should go check out. When I asked what it was, they told me I would know it when I saw it. I went back and looked around and I quickly found what they were talking about.

I was saddened when I saw the dozen pallets stacked up five feet high with books under an awning barely protecting them from the elements. I later found out they were waiting to be picked up to be taken to bulls bay, the school districts book and surplused item depository and had been for quite some time.

I know what some people might say. Chris why do you find fault with everything the school district does? Editions change, old books become out of date and need to be replaced by new ones.

Believe me it wares on me constantly talking about the problems in the district when the truth is there are so many amazing things going on. I just happen to think the vast majority of them are the individual interactions between students and teachers and quite often they happen in despite of the school district and its policies and procedures.

All that above however doesn’t change what I saw. I saw pallets of books in boxes, the vast majority of which were unopened. Books that at most were just a few years old. I am no expert on book prices but I would estimate there were thousands if not tens of thousands of books on those pallets being exposed to the elements. This isn’t a situation, which is unique to my school either. I asked teachers at other schools and most reported a similar situation. An area or a room where books left in unopened boxes gather dust.

This is my problem with the pallets. I believe education is under funded; I believe there are so many needs that are going unfilled but how can I in good conscious fight for more money or try and convince others that we desperately need it when there is such waste going on? How do we not have a system in place where we just order what we need and what we are going to use? I am all for new books. I am not for new books replacing books that have never been used.

A dozen pallets stacked five feet high; with books in unopened boxes exposed to the elements is something nobody should ever see at a public school. It’s truly a sad site.

The Pallets


  1. OK Chris, I will try not to be negative about this, so I will simply suggest you ask your principal who at your school actually places your school's order for the books? I believe you will find that someone at your school, probably either the textbook coordinator or bookkeeper, sends in the order for, or at least confirms the number of, books needed at your school to the Textbook department. If your school has a large number of unopened boxes or new and unused books that are being returned to the textbook warehouse, it just may not be the "district's" fault as you seem to imply.

  2. Last Spring I wrote about attendance problems at my school. Somebody from the district wrote me and said I should talk to my attendance team. I wrote them back and said; um we don't have an attendance team.

    I have no idea after five years at my school who our textbook coordinator is but I will attempt to find out tomorrow.

    I think not one dime should be spent unless it is a necessity, I don't know if this is a book keeper error, the fault of an over zealous text book coordinator or if somebody at the district level just messed up. I don't.

    It is however wasteful and is probably costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars. An elementary school teacher friend of mine told me they are only providing three teachers editions math investigation books for the five teachers in her group to share, well maybe if we wouldn't have wasted money here we could provide necessities there.

    Respectful discourse, see we can do it…

  3. Sometimes our curriculum is "driven" by the publishers!!! However, our latest concern is textbooks with a fabulous online component; however, there are only 30 licenses per teacher...and those licenses can't be shared among 7 classes of students!!!!