This pencil is barely #3

When I was a mere foal, we carried our precious school supplies in sturdy cigar boxes, and woe betide he who messed with somepony else’s box. Half a century later, things seem to have been inverted:

Some of my friends who have kids now say some schools collect the supplies, put them in a common box, and then distribute them. (There’s an interesting lesson in there, and perhaps not the one the school intends). So a sort of Tragedy of the Commons thing happens — there’s a race to buy the cheapest stuff, because who knows if your kid will get back what they brought in, so why spend the extra money? So everyone winds up with sort of crummy supplies … scissors that break, off-brand crayons…

On the other hand, given the apparent mission of contemporary primary education, this might be exactly the lesson the school intends.

And it probably doesn’t matter if the scissors break, because they won’t cut through deep mist, let alone actual construction paper.


  1. Roger Green »

    8 August 2013 · 10:34 pm

    Last year, in 3rd grade, the teacher collected $8 from each student and she bought supplies. This year, the Daughter has an expensuive-looking list of notebooks, binders and the like.

  2. CGHill »

    8 August 2013 · 10:50 pm

    That seems a bit more rational than everyone dropping their acquisitions into the common pool.

  3. McGehee »

    9 August 2013 · 8:17 am

    Having already published my opinion of current idiocational practice, I shall otherwise remain silent.

  4. Tatyana »

    9 August 2013 · 12:29 pm

    Now they learned why “Made in USSR” was always crappy: it’s the Law of Nature

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