Dawn Bonker is missing the point of coupon books ("The Ticking Timebook," Essay, Jan. 15). I have sold these books for Orange County nonprofits for the past 12 years. They are an integral part of the budget for many charities. Sadly, many organizations here have to cut projects because of little or no funding. Orange County is seen as a wealthy area, but many families cannot support themselves because of rising housing expenses. Social service agencies are bursting at the seams.
If the coupons are an embarrassment to Bonker and her family, I suggest that she donate the coupon book to a local women's shelter. Families in transition can always use the coupons, and I'm certain they wouldn't be embarrassed to do so.
Any parent who must donate funds to a public school is being denied the constitutional right to a free education. But this basic principle has not stopped virtually every school board from shorting classrooms of needed supplies and instructional materials. Conscientious teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money per year for needed supplies. Endless donation campaigns burn up hours for students, parents, teachers and administrators—hours lost to education. Educators are converted into hucksters for an endless parade of questionable commercial ventures.
Let's go on the warpath and demand that every school board must provide at least $100 per year for classroom supplies. This doesn't sound revolutionary, but in today's public schools it is.