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Brian,

I appreciate your newsletter, it's nice to get wind of matters pertaining to education before they are enacted. I fully support your position regarding distribution of pre-printed, pre-sorted flyers with an added disclaimer. It would be a shame to be deprived of notification of extracurricular activities via the occasional flyer. I dislike "junk mail" as much as the next person (maybe more), but find a great deal of value in the occasional notification found in our weekly school packets.

Personally, I believe our society has taken intolerance to a new level, making the concept of free speech applicable to secular concerns only. What has happened to personal accountability and freedom of choice? If parents do not want their children exposed to the "evils" of organizations such as Scouting, why can't they just recyle the flyers? Thank you for injecting some common sense into the discussion.

Gary - Thanks for the kind feedback and for adding your comments to the discussion. Best, Brian Wheeler

While I can appreciate arguments on both sides, as a teacher, I would like to see the distribution of materials from outside groups stopped. The information may be valuable to some parents, but if they knew how much instructional time is needed to pass out these materials, they may see less value in it! Teachers are passing out more and more flyers from outside groups each year, along with student papers to go home, class newsletters and announcements, notes to individual parents, school newsletters and announcements, information from other teachers or specialists, and county flyers or forms. Those who do not have teaching assistants in the classroom have to choose to cut instructional time short so children can organize these papers, or they must spend planning time stuffing take-home envelopes. With so many papers coming home, many parents grow weary of the time it takes to sort through it all, and then they miss important information from their child's teacher or school. How many times have I heard a parent say they didn't receive/see something that was sent home? Speaking as a parent, I dread getting the take-home envelope and having to look at so much stuff. It seems to me that a simple solution would be for schools to have a community bulletin board near the main entrance where flyers can be posted and read by anyone interested. Copies can be left in the office for parents to take if they see something on the board that interests them. Let's remember that our classrooms are places for our children to learn and grow, and the time they spend there is valuable, but limited. Don't we want to practice what we preach and use our time wisely?

The solution:
Apply the same rules that are in use in Email Marketing to School Fliers. opt-in or opt-out. Furthermore, get the kids out of the process.

Here's how it would work:
At the time of signing up for the school year, parents can opt-in or opt-out to receive special offers from third-parties. They could check whether the want religious material, charity, or even commercial marketing. Schools, in turn, could rent their list for some extra cash and the packages could be mailed once or twice a month.

This benefits everyone, the parents are receiving marketing that they may be interested in (example, Dell has some great deals on Laptops for the school, and this Church wants to save your soul), the schools make money out of renting their list, and nobody (organization) is left out!

Another idea:
Sell (or donate for 501c3's) advertising space in the school newsletter.

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