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School "fundraising" seminars during class time?? PTA-PUSD

Original post made by Pariot Liberal, Downtown, on Sep 20, 2009

Was the Company Great American Opportunities and Vinney Chopra granted carte blanche access to your child's school during class time for a sales seminar? Will they be granted access in the near future?

This coercive presentation put on by PTA and the National Company being pitched at an assembly during class time, is totally agaist PUSD policy and the presentation and fundraiser is questionable.

Ask your children, wheigh in here please.



"If your school did have a fund raising assembly during class time, this is against district policy. We have been told that no assembly can be held for this type of activity. They do however talk up the fund raiser at lunchtime but it is never suppose to be during instruction time. I would check with the District Office and file a complaint."

Comments (36)

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Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2009 at 10:07 am

CC:

The PUSD policy on fundraising makes it pretty clear that: "Such activities shall be conducted in a non-coercive manner that in no way embarrasses students, jeopardizes their safety; or disrupts the learning process in their classrooms."






>> Non Coercive? Not disrupting Learning process? When they have a guy doing all kinds of fancy tricks with dollar bills and pumping up the kids about the prizes, this is hardly NON Coercive and certainly is disrupting the learning process and is during class time in the muli purpose room. And my child was very animate in saying "daddy, if we don't do this, school will be boring and we will have no fun"... Brain Washing in a very REAL sense!


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Posted by Been going on for year
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

Class time for fundraising has been going on for years, not only for the items sold by Great American Opportunities, but also for the annual magazine drives at the middle schools. You are spot on about the tactics used to convince children they need to participate.
PL - you can share your concerns with your school administrator, PUSD administration, and PTA. Many have done so over the years, it has not changed anything, but maybe someone will listen to you.
Funny how many people objected on this forum to class time being used for students to listen to the president's speech about the importance of education, but they don't object to class time being used to promote fundraisers.


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Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 9:24 am

I appreciate all the comments and feedback. As I stated, we have been hit up for years after prop 13 by neighbors and relatives kids which is bothersome, but this is a first that our child had attended a mandatory un announced sales seminar at school during class time.

And the comment that saying anything about it can backfire and cause condemnation for the parent or child is correct.

The comments about private schools are spot on as well, as I know that first hand.

So, I have no idea what the solution is? We are NOT in a position to home school either and we like our child being in the mix with other children.

So I think that using the whole situation as a calm teaching and learning session at home was appropriate.

I also believe that the PTA is in a tough position as well, but could be way more forward thinking as far as the fundraising techniques.

A lot of times we resort to coneniance and rapid effortless results in todays society.


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Posted by Pariot Radical
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

So, is the conscious that these sales rallies DO occur during class time district wide, even though they are clearly against district policy?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

We should just be told what the bill is when we take our kids to school and write a check and all of this goes away and we support our own kids and not ask others to do so.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm

By the way, proposition 13 went into effect in 1978 so I do not know how old all of your kids are but that was 31 years ago!!!!!!


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Posted by I can't use my name for fear of fundraisers hunting me down!
a resident of Valley Trails
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I just had to explain to a tearful 11-year old and a sad 9-year-old that I wasn't allowing my childred to peddle magazine subscriptions and wrapping paper to friends and neighbors for a school fundraiser because:

a) it's abusive of the promotion companies and schools to take advantage of kids by luring them with landfill-type prizes;
b) I already paid a total of $200 to their schools at registration so the schools/promoters wouldn't have to use my children to do the work the State has failed to do;
c) it would take each child (along with mom and dad, who have to chaperone sales) a minimum of three hours work to "sell" enough loot that they could earn the prizes;
d) kids' free time is better spent outdoors or playing with friends;
and the best reason was...
e) if the kids really want the landfill type prizes, they can do 3 hours of chores for me and I'll pay them $15 apiece to spend. I'm betting they'll spend their money on different items than the sale giveaways!

The best way to show distaste for this type of fundraising is not to participate. Period.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Patriot Liberal wrote: "we have been hit up for years after prop 13"

And parents are also "hit up" in other states where they don't have Prop 13. What's your point, that repealing Prop 13 is going to make this fund-raising activity disappear?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I can't use my name,

I agree 100% with you. Aaaargh!!

However my almost 7 years old so got the educational teaching experience we had over this, she put the packet in the Recycle Her Self! I showed her our tax returns and explained a whole lot to here. She was in total agreement.

As the conversion moved to Politics, she stated that perhaps 7 year olds should be running the Country, NOT related to Obama, just in general.

BUT, I warned here against telling all her classmates, our little secret! She gets it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Stacey,

NOT into an argument here, so you tell me, you're going to anyways I assume? I am MORE than willing to listen to solutions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Been going on for year
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

PL,
One thing I have done is written checks to the school and PTA in the beginning of the school year and told my child that I do this rather than participating in fundraisers. I'm not comfortable putting my family and neighbors into the position of feeling they have to buy something and that's what happens when kids go door to door.
This doesn't resolve the using class time for sales promotions issue, but it means we don't have to waste time as a family selling things people don't really want or need, and the school and PTA get more money from us than they would if we participated in the fundraisers.
I return any fundraising materials to the school with a note reminding them that I have made my contribution and am returning the materials in case they need them for someone else.

But I do have a couple of suggestions. We have a national do not call registry. Perhaps what we need is a do not solicit registry that parents can sign up for during registration so materials don't even come home or students whose families don't want to participate in a fundraiser can go to the library rather than the sales rally. If nothing else, once the schools and the PTA realize how many families don't want to do fundraising, they might limit the number of fundraisers.

Also, you could contact a school board member and ask him/her to bring up the issue of using class time for fundraising during the next school board meeting. School board members should keep your name confidential


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I can't use my name for fear of fundraisers hunting me down!
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 22, 2009 at 9:55 am

PL,
You crack me up! Way to use this as a learning experience. I've refused to participate for three years, since my youngest was in 2nd grade. Now they're pretty used to it. Have to admit it's funny that they're now asking "what jobs" they can do to earn that $15 I offered, and said they're not going to tell their friends about it. I gave them a standard line to questions of "are you selling...?" They'll reply, "No. My familly donates money straight to the school insted."

p.s. Good idea on the recycle bin. My kids will enjoy that as well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 22, 2009 at 10:05 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Patriot Liberal,

I'm only asking why you bring up Prop 13 in your arguments. You wrote it so you must have a reason for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geesh....
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 10:57 am


Bottom line:

1. You don't want to participate - don't.

2. These activities are NOT during classroom time.

3. The money raised DOES support the schools and YOUR kids.

4. You prefer to send money direct to the class - Do it then.

5. If you think that the economic issues this district faces (as well as most around our country) should somehow get 'fixed' without any additional dollars......then you must have your head in the sand.


P.S. By no means, is adding just dollars going to improve the educational system. But, it certainly cannot be removed from the equation either.

P.P.S (Personal frustration): Why do people have to start a whole new thread on a subject that is already being discussed on these forums? We just end up reading the same 'ol, same 'ol.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 11:38 am

"2. These activities are NOT during classroom time."

You are not a credible source. The fundraiser DID happen during class time. My child's test was, in fact, postponed because they had to go to the assembly which was nothing more than a fundraiser marketing, all DURING class time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 11:43 am

Been going on for years,

Good input. If a 6 year old GETS it, whats up with PTA and the parents with apparently endless friends and relatives with money to burn? The Gov does a good job of that and we have managed our funds wisely through good times and bad.

And yes, the checks go straight to where WE choose! That's along with helping in the classroom and other contributions in the community.

Stacey,

No Problema, read your question wrong and I was thinking back on my own education ad prop 13.

Geesh,

"2. These activities are NOT during classroom time."

BS- My child attended a sales pitch hype up seminar in the multi purpose room at the Elementary school Last week! I was dropping off forms and passed by and listened, that's why I am upset. It was all out brain washing! Coercive as against PUSD policy on MANY fronts!
Why is their Policy if they blatantly disregard policy?

And WHY did PTA have access to our kids for this seminar without ANY notice what so ever??

"5. If you think that the economic issues this district faces (as well as most around our country) should somehow get 'fixed' without any additional dollars......then you must have your head in the sand."

Thanks for diagnosing me as a person and telling me where my head is, what would I do without this insult?


".P.S (Personal frustration): Why do people have to start a whole new thread on a subject that is already being discussed on these forums? We just end up reading the same 'ol, same 'ol."

Please feel more than free to not participate in either of these thread if they bother you.

The other thread was a whole other topic asking other parents IF the same company did a sales pitch at their child's school recently.

Sorry to have put you out. Irespect your inout, so dont get all excited.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geesh
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I agree - I can certainly choose not to respond to this thread…. But, to leave the impression that the district as a whole is ignoring a 'policy' is not true.

If your particular school is fundraising during class time – why haven't you gone direct to the principal involved?

Then, if you must, come to the forum and discuss the full situation and, these responses would have more validity.

I see this as just spinning the wheels - by posting up without any input from the particular school admins involved.



BTW – the comment about 'head in sand' was a reference to those that post up, hoping that any situation will improve so that you will not have to deal with it. My point is to deal with it – direct with the school or district. Accountability starts at home. ;-)


Have a great day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Geesh,

The conversation in the thread is going quite well for most.

Perhaps you would be willing to post a Q&A topic about how to have validity and how and why to post a topic or a reply.

Tha last thing I want or need is you not feeling I have any validity.

Are you vested in the school disctrict?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geesh
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Patriot,

No, nothing to do with the district. No kids attending PUSD either.



Enjoy your 'conversation' here on the internet. Let us know how it works out for you - if you ever talk direct to the schools.


P.S. Never said your comments did not have "any validity". I said they could have 'more validity' - ie: basing comments on actual dialog with the schools and having knowledge from both sides of the issue. I think that would have 'more' validity....and would solidify your standing as a 'Patriot'.

Anyway.....best of luck to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Partriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Geesh,

No intent on "bashing" the schools here. Rightfully very upset with what was presented to my child and more so that it was during instructional time.

I have been to the School Principal as well as the Board and they say that it was a bad judgement call and that they are taking "appropriate" action, as many other parents were upset.

So, we shall see.

Thanks for the concern, I really appreciate that. You are a true gentleman!

No Worries!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BelieveJay
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm

When you are successful at getting the school to stop promoting the fundraisers and there is a budget shortfall, how will you make that money up?

Do you expect the parents to be mad when the PE teacher is let go or the library only stays open 2 hours a day? These days the consequences of not supporting a fundraiser can be this serious.

The school can't just bill parents for the lack of funding so what is your suggestion on how to make up for these funds before field trips are canceled or art classes have no paper?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geesh
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Patriot,

Glad you talked to the school and are getting action. Love to hear that.


BTW:

'gentleman'?

Assumptions can be an interesting thing.



;-)



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm

This type of fund raising activity has been going on for years. I agree that the prizes are crappy, and that everyone in the neighborhood is "selling" stuff, no matter what elementary school, or middle school your child goes to - Even high school sells cookie dough. My youngest daughter gets competitive and wants to win the prizes, but over the years she has come to realize that the prizes really are crap. One year in 5th grade she used her own money to buy gifts for the family from the fundraiser. I have been to the assembly once last year when I was working at the school, and yes to a child it is "brainwashing". I think if they want to fundraise, then just send the packets home for the parents to look at, and if they don't wish to participate, then send them back to be recycled. The truth is that parents can't be forced to donate money to the child's school at the beginning of the year.


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Posted by to Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Liberal Patriot: I agree with your message, but I disagree with the way you're handling it. Instead of creating another online lynch mob against the district and its' employees, did you first try and have a reasonable conversation with the principle? Or Casey? Or a Board member?

I just can't stand the way this website is continually used to escalate and sensationalize problems that can be solved in more constructive ways.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by selective buyer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm

We live on a court. When we moved here, we supported every child on our street who came for a fundraiser. So one time the girl across the street brought her friend for her friend's fundraiser. Yes, we bought something and said no one else for XYZ. We have supported it. We had no Boy Scouts on our street. The first one to come buy - we purchased a swag. I told him to come next year too. He's our honorary BS. Later we had kids - each parent we had supported now supported us. However, our kids didn't go out for school unless they really wanted to do so. Sometimes they were told they should sell X amount each. We did give the amount directly to the school. The kids still sold stuff for scouts (Cub Scouts & Girl Scouts) and various sports. This goes all the way through high school. Fund raising has nothing to do with Prop 13.

Prop 13 has been called the reason for all the school failures. Sorry, folks - elementary schools were bad in CA during the depression when my mom was a kid - kids moving to the NE stayed back a year when coming from CA and struggled when from FL (she was from FL). When I moved from a public school in the NE to a private American school abroad, I struggled in foreign language (competition was fierce as more than 60% attended school in the language or spoke it in the home) and was fine in everything else. Academically, that public school was ranked in the top 10% in the Greater NY area and when I married in CA, in the top 25% in the nation for academics. The kids from CA public schools either didn't qualify to enter or struggled; private schools were OK. Prop 13 was after my mom and I were in school.


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Posted by reasonable parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2009 at 10:02 am

We have adopted a different strategy. I've explained to our kids that we will buy from our own fundraisers, but we will NOT hit up other people, since they have to buy their OWN kids' fundraisers. This makes perfect sense to them.

So, yes, I'll buy a few rolls of quality giftwrap from the school, and enjoy giving beautiful gifts. I buy boy scout popcorn and give it as holiday gifts to relatives. I buy coupon books from the kids' soccer team, and get my money's worth supporting local business. Even if I'm overspending a little, it feels like a treat for me, it is stuff I'd have to buy anyway (at least at some level) and I know it helps out these organizations.

[As for Prop 13, it is the root of much evil and I could go on about how it distorts the home-buyer market, etc., but it is not the cause of these fundraisers. I'm sure we would have them anyway.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lori
a resident of Parkside
on Sep 23, 2009 at 10:56 am

Thanks to all the PTA/PFC's here in Pleasanton who work hard to supply some of the supplies needed for the students in the classroom. Fundraising can be part of building the community of any organization, but I don't think it should ever feel coerced.

I agree with those of you who choose, as I do, to donate directly to the cause without necessarily needing to purchase items you really don't need or want. That way the organization receives the entire benefit of your donation, not just a percentage. If you like to support many children in your neighborhood, just donate a small amount through each child or let the children know you have already made your contribution. A polite response is all that is required.

Being passionate about your cause--whatever it may be--is great. Use your passion to improve the situation not just to complain. Attend a meeting, talk to an administrator and get the full story.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonna
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 23, 2009 at 11:05 am

My children are now grown, but I remember the sense of dread I'd get whenever one of my kids would come home with one of those fundraising packets...gift wrap, stationery, candy,cookie dough, etc. I knew it meant having to accompany them around the neighborhood going door to door, or having to hit up family and friends (again) to buy something. I know it was for a good cause, but not everyone feels comfortable with solicitations, and using young children to peddle the wares does not seem right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by momof2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Just say NO!It is not hard.....open mouth, say no. Now doesn't that feel good:)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kolohe
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm

i see lots of talking and no answers to the problem..

i volunteered to do the fundraising in my daughter's classroom. the money earned was to help fund field trips and special projects. as a p.t.a. volunteer, we had to do fundraisers to help fund the other parts of the field trips and special projects.

being on both ends of fundraising...the only light i can see is to have a parent represent the child and hold a fundraising seminar with whatever company you choose. this way, it will be taken out of the classroom and given to the parent as it should be. as a parent, a volunteer fundraiser, and someone who sat on the p.t.a. board, we all know how hard it is to get parents to participate. and to top all of that, children now days also have outside fundraising too. via sports or scouts. if you parents want to omit the fundraisers speaking to the children, then gather up my friends, you have lots of work ahead of you. good luck to you all. my daughter has a classroom of her own now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by more liver please
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Patriot,
Good for you on taking upon yourself and acting. I hope the rest of the parents that are complaining on it do the same and just vent here.

As I had stated in last week's post, I was subjected to it close to (insert sigh) 50, yes 50 years ago with the Livermore school district and my son through the years in Pleasanton during class time. My biggest issue was having my son come home and tell me about "all the other parents" are buying their or getting their work collegues by all their "fill in the blank". (magazines, cookies, etc)

If he WANTED the prize, go for it. He Never NEEDED for a thing.
I won't rant again (as I did last week) on the sense of automatic entitlement and instant gratification (texting) that kids demand rather than EARN. My biggest problem was Not the schools, but the parents that would not let their child be "deprived".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Read this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Web Link


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Posted by Parent Group parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 24, 2009 at 7:20 am

Is this only happening at PTA schools? I highly doubt it so the PTA should not be dragged though the mud here. Parent groups be they PTA , PFA, or PFC's have been supporting fundraising at schools and doing good work for the students and faculity at our schools for years. Some of the fundraising companies do require ridiculous marketing assemblies to be presented to the students which of course should not be during education time,often they are scheduled during lunch, what do the schools get in return? The students raise Thousands and thousands of dollars which are spent in productive ways to support our schools. Got a better way to do it ? Step up and be part of the solution instead of whining and complaining.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 24, 2009 at 8:40 am

The "better ways" have been posted here and suggested by other parents to include PTA parents, only to be shot down.

It would appear that even the PTA majority is more in favor of the easiest and least educational or parent involvement catalogue type methods, at leaset at my childs school. many other parents from many other schools seems to concur.

As far as the Topic and the Issue brought up here in this thread by Me,the PTA, school district and School, failed to adhere to POLICY! Period and MANY parents are NOT happy!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent group parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 24, 2009 at 8:51 am

The parent group does not schedule the events, the school administrator has to say yes to when they can occur on their site so perhaps the MANY UNHAPPY PARENTS can go WHINE and COMPLAIN at their school administrator for allowing instruction time to be used for marketing instead of teaching. PERIOD.


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Posted by Patrriot Liberal
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm

The PTA was solicited by and decided on the company Great American Opportunities for the fundraiser at Hearst. The fundraiser in which the company rep pumped up and coerced the students was during class time.

PERIOD!

Nearly 1/2 of America went ballistic because of the President Of The United States speech, which was NOT against district policy.

WE, a group of parents did NOT appreciate this unannounced sales meeting at the school and the school has promised NOT to do this again, as it was CLEARLY against DISTRICT POLICY.


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