J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

School Picture Day 3.0

Today is Spring Picture Day at my child’s school. This, of course, should not be confused with Class Picture Day or Fall Picture Day, nor should one forget that End of Year Picture Day is just 2 months away.

For some reason, my child’s school district has decided that we need 4 opportunities each year (not including make-ups) to buy a photograph of our child in front of a photoshopped patriotic or tropical background.

Honestly, my suspicion is that someone in the district has close ties to the photography studio. I find it hard to believe that these “$18 for two 5×7 photos and 6 wallet-size” are the result of a bid process or that anyone truly believes this many photo ops are necessary. I’m equally suspicious that the school receives a small “finders fee” from each photo package sold. I see no other justification for why these  photo ops are more heavily promoted than school band concerts or back-to-school night. I’d rather have more information about my child’s next science test than to already know the school picture dates for 2012 and 2013.

I admit that I do want to buy the class group photo  (at least until my child was in middle school); however, I also wanted the format to be similar year to year. I buy these photos to record the progression of time and would have preferred Grades 1 – 6 to have been the same size photo, taken from the same approximate angle, on comparable weight photo paper.  Sadly, this is not the case. But hey, what can I expect when I’m only paying $12-15 per photo, right?

The individual “headshots” are another matter. I don’t mind buying one per year (although, again, they are very overpriced). However, I do not appreciate my child being pressured to dress nicely for a second and third “picture day” on which I do not intend to buy the photo. I do not appreciate the letter home telling me (generically) that I may not have realized how much my child has grown and their appearance changed since October December March and that I need to spend $20 or more so that the school-endorsed photographer can save me from my own apathy

How about you send me a letter telling me about how my child is performing academically or behaving? My child brings home five half-completed pieces of artwork each year and somehow gets a B+ in Art. Why not send a letter home explaining why the artwork isn’t complete or even what it was intended to be when it was finished?

I see that another parent has already posted on this site about the burden of fundraising. Many of her points apply here.  I say add school book fairs and picture days to the list of  things that need to be reconsidered. This parent’s bank account can’t take the strain.

[For the record, we will NOT be buying "Package G" today. My child was quite insistent about dressing for school picture day and very upset to learn that we were not going to be making a purchase. As a compromise we took a photo in our living room which I will Photoshop to have some exotic background. I'll print out a couple of 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 photos, maybe some wallet size too... for a total expense of $1.93. Maybe I should look into the school letting me be the photographer for a fifth school picture day.]

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