Beth Waldron complains about the money that parents spend on back-to-school supplies. She longs for the days when her parents bought her paper, pen, and pencils and sent her on her way. Today, she carps, it costs an average of $86 to outfit a child for school. Surely you jest, Beth. How are modern kids to make it through the year on a paltry 86 clams? Do you want your elementary kid using a cheap cell phone that distracts them from learning? Of course not! You have to get the LG Migo VX1000. For 50 bucks and a two-year contract, they get a kid-friendly phone with only five buttons that dials pre-programmed numbers. And you'll need the GPS software (Price: $10; Feeling of security: Priceless) that comes with it so you can track your child's whereabouts during the day. And what about all those heavy computer files children have to lug around? An assistant principal in Maryland says "it would be helpful if they all had a mass storage device to transport files between home and school." Cost $30. Gadfly figures you're at 90 dollars (not counting the two-year contract), and we're not even talking calculators yet. Nor fashionable backpacks. Get serious, Beth, a quality education costs. Now, will that be cash, check, or charge?

"Back to School, with cellphone and laptop," by Jeffrey Selingo, New York Times, August 17, 2006

"Making Public School Affordable for Public," by Beth Waldron, Christian Science Monitor, August 22, 2006

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