EDITORIAL: Coughing up the dough

·2 min read

Sep. 14—For students at Ironton Elementary School, it probably came as exciting news that a field trip was planned to give them a day at Malibu Jack's in Ashland, Kentucky.

Except that it came with a catch.

To qualify for the field trip, students have to take part in a sales program for the school, through an outside company, peddling cookie dough at $20-24 a batch and, after selling 12 items, they would qualify for the fun excursion.

In the materials provided to families, students were advised, for safety, not to go door-to-door to sell the items, instead focusing on family members and friends, or enlisting their parents to sell to co-workers.

Doing the math, that amounts to selling $240 of cookie dough at a minimum.

So, for those who do not have the fortune to be in a family connected enough to amass $240 to spend on cookie dough, well, just enjoy your dull day back at school while your friends partake in the enjoyment.

This was an ill-conceived idea on all fronts. First, as a public school, opportunities should be equal to all students and not something that favors those in economically advantageous situations.

Why not instead appeal to the community openly for donations, rather than steer it through a marketing scheme? Why not host a fundraising event at the school, like a show or fair, in which students could organize and be a part of at no cost? Why not appeal to government authorities at a higher level or seek grants from foundations?

Second, we all agree that schools could always use more funding. However, the solution to this is not to put it on the students to become Billy Mays-esque pitchmen pushing random products to sustain their education.

And this is not a unique situation with Ironton. Other schools in the region have employed these sales programs and use them as a basis for rewards. This practice is becoming far too common and accepted.

We seriously hope that the outrage of many parents is heard and that the district abandons this idea and, in the future, seeks a better means to fundraise and makes sure that all activities are available to all students, regardless of financial status.