19 August 2010

The training and equipping of the Modern Student

Those of you with kids will relate.

It's either very nearly back-to-school for many students, or in some cases where year-round schooling is used, the students are already back. But all you parents have done the school shopping bit-go to the store to pick up supplies and outfit the little darlings in the latest styles or get their uniforms. I've not had to do this, but I remember every August getting loaded up in the car and taken to Clinton to go to Penney's for clothes, and KMart for paper, pencils, and all the actual supplies necessary to stuff my skull full of 'nowledge. I hated it because it meant the end of the summer's freedom.

Tonight, I was in OfficeMax looking for a couple of things when I saw The List Of Required Crap Your Student Needs. Had to pick it up to see what the students of 2010-11 have to have. Here goes:


12 pencils, #2, sharpened
6 pens, 2 black, 2 blue, 2 red. Erasible if possible
1 Sharpie pen, black, extra fine point
1 box of 4 Expo Dry Erase Markers
1 box crayons, 24 ct.
1 box markers, 8 ct, Classic Colors
1 box colored pencils
1 Highlighter
1 Bottle glue, 4 oz, white
1 calculator
2 Glue Sticks
1 Scissors
2 Erasers, large, pink
1 Ruler, marked with centimeters and inches
1 Protractor, 6", 180 degrees, plastic
6 Spiral Notebooks
6 Pocket Folders
2 pkg loose-leaf notebook paper
1 3-ring divider notebook
13 dividers for Binder
2 box facial tissues, large
1 container disinfecting wipes
1 backpack
1 pair gym shoes for PE

...and a partridge in a pear tree.

Wow! How do you do this if you have two or three kids? That's a crapload of stuff there! I can see why they require a backpack-they're loading the kids up like soldiers going on a five-day bivouac in the Sierra Nevadas. Might want to put MRE's, toilet paper, and forty rounds ball and shot on the list as well.

I remember some of this stuff from back in the day. I'm surprised paper is still required in massive amounts. I figured by now all a student would need is a flash drive and access to a keyboard. As for all the binders and notebooks and crap-I used to just take a handful of sheets of paper and toss them in the coursebook. I ain't lugging a three-ring binder clear across the building to English class. Screw it.

Dry erase markers? Huh? Do the schools not have dry erase markers for the whiteboards? We never had to take our own chalk-what gives? Disinfecting wipes? C'mon, man! You gotta catch a few things so your immune system knows how to fight disease. And are there no custodians nowadays? Who puts down that sawdust-type stuff when someone hurls in the hall?

I also recall that the school powers-that-be were very particular on certain items. We used to have to take a set of 8 watercolors every year, and they had to be Prang watercolors with the brush big enough to paint a barn with. You got read the riot act if you got some other brand. Who the hell cares? It's all the same colors. I only used the red and the black anyway, being in the giant brushstroke red-and-black phase of my artistic career. Crayons, of course, had to be Crayola, 48 count (with 39 colors never to be used), with the sharpener on the back of the box. I distinctly remember one kid having-horrors-a box of fluorescent crayons! He got dressed down good for that! And they say education stifles creativity...

I do see provision for a calculator. No more actually learning all that tedious multiplication and long division by actually writing down the problems and working them through like the poor bastards in out-of-the-way, backward places like Somalia or Bolivia or New Zealand have to do. 6th grade is too early to need a calculator. Make them do it the hard way first. They'll be better off.

Gym shoes for PE. Yep, needed them, too. Along with at least one PE uniform (two are better, especially if you have someone who wasn't all that diligent about washing the unie from week to week). I don't see anything about uniforms for phys ed, possibly because most schools don't have to 'bother with it' as much. It's a shame they didn't have that policy when Coach Greenfield was making us run laps around the track and drop for ten just for fun, or when Sgt. Drace put us through the Army fitness test. Not sure a lot of today's students even do much for PE.

I suppose a lot of the gear required is the same as what we had to have, but it sure seems like a lot of stuff to acquire. So much emphasis on the binders and notebooks and dividers-most people aren't that organized. Who's the person that gets the most work done anywhere? The guy with the most cluttered desk or workbench. You find a desk piled high with crap, you find the guy or girl in the office who gets stuff done-and knows where everything is amongst the clutter. And how else can you lose your homework if you can't have a disorganized jumble of books and papers?

Dunno. But figure all this stuff every year, plus five or six different outfits, books, and fees for sports or other activities, and if you have a couple of kids, this all runs into a tidy sum. I don't envy anyone having to outlay the cash.

yankeedog out.


  1. Key point is though no parent ACTUALLY BUYS everything on the list. And any kid who DOES turn up with everything gets the absolute piss taken out of them.

    New Zealand is currently flipping you off re the comment about calculators, and furthermore challenges you to a sporting duel. Your choice of rugby, cricket or Americas Cup yachting.

  2. That's quite a list, no idea what the list is for the nieces/nephews. I strongly suspect that the eldest nephew will not have a list next year, I can't see him making the fortnight out.

  3. Doc-True on a couple of counts-a) no parent is going to spend that much, and b) some things, like rulers and calculators, don't change from year to year.

    You're right about the kid, and he can't run OR fight because he's got his 100 pounds of gear in his pack weighing him down!

    Touche, sir, on the America's Cup jab! Just seeing if everyone was paying attention. As for the calculator: educators shouldn't be ignoring the mechanics of math. It's too important for later in life.

    Bangar-I expect your nieces and nephews have about the same requirements. The oldest one had enough of the educational system, has he? Hate to hear it. I hope he knows a trade. You don't HAVE to have a great education if you're a genius at, say, plumbing or electrics or mechanics, and can get good work or start your own business. But a lot of the 'ditch-digger' jobs aren't around any more.

  4. Oh no no no in the world of school education with time poor parents haven't you heard man school have 'beneficial' relationships with private suppliers who will deliver to the school all the requirements on list including textbooks, stationary, etc (as provided to them by the school) packaged up, labeled and boxed waiting for the little dear at their desk on the first day.
    All one needs to do is provide the $$$$. The school the_weapon attends uses Campion Education to provide this service.

  5. Barnes - that's largely a private school thing though? At the risk of sounding like a character from the old Monty Python Live 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch - we never had textbooks, the school could only afford one copy and photocopied the bastard endlessly and illegally (well they did for our HSC chemistry course anyway)

    I think a US based team (BMW Oracle) currently holds the Americas Cup - with a NZ skipper and an almost entirely Australo-Kiwi crew.

  6. Barnesy-Not here, I don't think. Everyone has to provide their own stuff. No private contractors here-but it ain't a bad idea. Might have to look into that!

    Doc-So it's an Oz-Kiwi team sponsored by a German car company? Basically they're renting a slip at a marina here, then?

  7. ...disinfectant wipes?

    Fuck me. Fat lot of good THAT'S gonna do when Zed comes calling.

  8. My list is smaller for my class.

    Webster's Dictionary (because some of them do not understand what I am saying or how to spell it).
    Five Scantrons (Form 886-E)
    Sufficient writing tools and paper to take notes.

    I do not miss public school one bit. Give me college any day.

    On the Outer Marches

  9. Flinthart-Dirk, how ya been? Good to hear from ya. They'll all be zombies, of course. With nice clean hands.

    Murph-Yeah, a course like American History shouldn't require a whole lot of material. When I took drafting, I had to buy a LOT of stuff to do drawings with. I've still got most of it, though with CAD systems, it's mostly obsolete stuff. That manual drawing stuff will last forever if taken care of.

  10. YDog he's been asked to leave, currently attending by the skin of his teeth.

    PS and no he doesn't have good prospects, I've told him he'll regret it in twenty years (may not take that long)