That shelf wasn't placed there because they ran out of space elsewhere in the store. It was put there to - wait for it - make the store money. I know! Unbelievable, right? The next thing you know, I'll be making some wild claim that casinos are only in business to scam you out of your savings. If I'm going to make such crazy statements, you might as well stop reading now.
Actually, there's an application to the ways in which our school boards and curriculum committees adopt materials, and more importantly there's an application to the ways in which teachers make purchases.
I like to think I put a lot of thought into how I spend money provided to me from the school's PTA or from district funds. I wonder if districts do the same. After all, someone paid, donated, or reluctantly gave up their money so we could spend it effectively.
But we like those shiny things on the impulse shelves, don't we? One person with buying power can spend thousands of tax dollars on a flashy software system that will streamline curriculum delivery.
It says right on the box that it is the world's answer to assessing the Common Core.
The company's representative claims it will save time in identifying students who need "interventions".
The website has this year's date in the corner; it must be the up-to-datiest product available.
Look! There's a quote from Confucius!
And suddenly one person's opinion becomes the pet project of the entire literacy department. All that's left is to sell it to the school board. Just like that.
Pretty soon, you have notebooks full of worksheets, which is just the thing you were probably trying to avoid in the first place. In fact, there were probably some worksheets in your file cabinet that would have worked just fine for the same purpose.
I don't know why they do it. By that, I mean I don't know why they do it without putting much thought into it. I guess teachers just make too much money; we have so much cash readily available that we can afford to throw it any bulletin board border salesman who peddles his cart onto our lane. Added to that is that, often, it's not our own money we're spending.
Sometimes we make mistakes with our purchases - it happens more often than we would like to admit - but we need to do better. Just because we work for the government doesn't mean we should burn money like the bank is on fire. That tabloid you just bought may not benefit you after all.