On Sunday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., St. Croix Falls High School will be transformed from an institute of public education into a mattress showroom. Here, you will be able to purchase name-brand mattresses at every price point, high-end sheets of all sizes, and pillows to replace the icky-greasy-mite-infested ones you’re probably sleeping on now. Sales, warranties, financing, layaway programs and to-your-door deliveries are all provided by professional mattress experts.
You think I crafted the above paragraph as an attention grabber? You think it’s not exactly what I mean and I’m only playing with hyperbole or metaphor?
Nope. This is actually happening.
Simple. Market analysis reveals that one in 10 people are consistently in the market for a new mattress. That’s why you’re always seeing ads for them. The mattress market is dependable and profitable because everybody needs one – and the St. Croix Falls music department wants in on that action. Other schools using this program have boasted raising tens of thousands of dollars in a single day.
Free market capitalists advocating for school choice probably didn’t see this coming. Now you get to choose between supporting your local mattress store (there are a few around) or your local school.
Because we are a nation that values competition above education, that’s the deal. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon. It’s too bad – because, believe me, educators have plenty they would rather do than compete for your disposable income. Nobody ever said they wanted to be a teacher so they could drum up mattress sales.
What are schools doing with the boatloads of cash they are raising? Providing educational opportunities for our kids. That’s it.
That is it.
Educators are busting their tails to give kids opportunities to learn. Period. Because they care. They think it’s important. They’ve committed to making it their life’s work. They are personally invested.
Why are you doing what you’re doing? Do you have the same passion for your profession? Would you give up your weekend to do something as completely unrelated and weird if you thought it might create more opportunities for you to succeed at work?
No, there is no opportunity for you to profit personally. It’s a completely selfless act.
And that’s the problem. Local businesses don’t stand a competitive chance against the kind of passion and determination motivated by, say, a band instructor with a marching band in need of new uniforms.
“But I don’t sell mattresses,” you say.
You think it will stop at mattresses? The market for automobile tires is just as robust and dependable as mattresses. Too unimaginable? Too weird? Turning a public school into a mattress showroom for a weekend isn’t?
It’s all the same to corporate. They don’t care who’s selling their stuff. Corporate America will always be just fine – politicians and policymakers will see to that. Just look at recent tax cuts and corporate giveaways as evidence. All that despite record cash holdings. These guys have more money than they know what to do with.
And they still want more.
Meanwhile, the battle between public education and local businesses will intensify as each continues to fight for crumbs from Wall Street’s feast. The competition should be fierce. But it’s what America was founded on. And, after all, what better time to teach our kids the value of a good fight than in band class?
St. Croix Falls