Unformatted text preview: I chose to reflect on case study 3.1, Chocolate Bar Fundraiser, (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 21). In this
case study, the school PTA is discussing the annual chocolate bar fundraiser that defrays the effects of
budget cuts or allow students to participate in out-of-town events (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 21). This
study shows how a student’s socioeconomic status can be a factor when it comes to fundraisers. The
annual fundraiser has worked well in the past, however, some parents; Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cuertas,
feel that the fundraiser causes embarrassment for students from low-income families (Gorski & Pothini,
2018, p. 21). The fundraiser does focus on the sales of chocolate bars, and students with the most sales
are recognized at an all-school assembly with passes to theme parks and other prizes (Gorski & Pothini,
2018, p. 21). Whether the PTA recognizes it or not this particular fundraiser is directly affected by the
socioeconomic status of the students. It is mentioned that Ms. Torrence, PTA president, was “aware of
and sensitive to the growing number of low-income students” (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 22) that
attended the school but unfortunately, those families were underrepresented at the PTA meeting.
The biases, in this case, are those of Ms. Plumlee, and Mr. Winterstein in that if it has worked in the past
why fix it, and if they would just work hard they could have the same success as anyone else (Gorski &
Pothini, 2018, pg 22).
There are many different perspectives to take into consideration for this case study. The situation from a
higher socioeconomic parents’ point of view, is that the fundraiser has worked in the past and no one has
complained before (Gorski & Pothini, 2018). Looking at only the monies brought in, the chocolate bar
fundraiser was a success, however from Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cuertas’ point of view, parents from
lower socioeconomic families, it is frustrating that such a fundraiser would be considered as it “sets
students up to feel embarrassed” and “we should not be dependent on students to raise money” (Gorski &
Pothini, 2018, p. 21). Fundraisers that have prizes based upon sales creates competition among students,
and while competition can be motivating, in this case, some of the goals are unreachable for some of the
students. Many times they are unreachable, not because of the student’s work ethic, but of circumstances
out of their control.
My children have been a part of many fundraisers in the past and the pressure felt for them to sell a
certain amount or number of items was a lot to put on an elementary student. The pressure only increases
with high school fundraisers, where if they do not sell the parents are expected to pay unsold items, or
you are not part of the club or team. As a parent, I have also felt the pressure to help my child be
successful, part of the team, not considered different. Many times we put ourselves in a bad position to
save our children from embarrassment in these types of situations.
The biggest opportunity presented by this case is that it made other members of the PTA aware of how the
school budget cuts (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 22) are affecting students, especially low-income students.
Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cuertas’s attendance and participation at the meeting are key to the discussion
about the fundraiser and how it can be upsetting to low-income students and families. It also provides an
opportunity for them to discuss low-income families availability for in-school involvement because of
lack of childcare or working multiple jobs. Now that these topics have been brought up Ms. Torrence can
focus on being sensitive to the growing number of low-income families and work to resolve some of their
The ethical paradigm most related to this case is the ethics of care because it “requires leaders to consider
multiple voices in the decision-making process” (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011, p. 18). Although Ms.
Alexander and Mr. Cuertas voiced their concerns, they were dismissed by Ms. Plumlee, Mr. Winterstein,
and Ms. Torrence. Although Ms. Torrence is aware of the growing number of low-income families and
has tried to reach out to them as far as she knows Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cuertas are the only low-income
family present (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 22). She knew that the concerns they brought to the table
would be drowned out by the voices of other attendees who saw the fundraiser as a tradition (Gorski & Pothini, 2018, p. 22). By the end of the case study Ms. Torrence has not spoken up or addressed any
concerns, her silence is why I chose the ethic of care to be most relevant in this case.
As an immediate response, I feel that Ms. Torrence should publicly acknowledge the concerns of Ms.
Alexander and Mr. Cuertas as they represent the growing number of low-income families. As the
president of the PTA, she must take into consideration all families concerns and to do what is best for all
students. A person in this position she should strive to be equitable and just.
As a long-term response, Ms. Torrence and the PTA need to reevaluate how and when meetings are held,
and how parents can communicate concerns if they are not able to attend meetings. This would allow the
PTA to meet the needs of diverse families population at their school. Perhaps having an email address for
families to contact the PTA, conducting surveys or voting through email, could address the issue of not
having representation for all socioeconomic families. This is an area of concern for the school I teach in,
and I plan to bring up some of these ideas.
Gorski, P.C., & Pothini, S. G. (2018). Case studies on diversity and social justice education (2
New York, NY: Routledge. nd ed.). Shapiro, J. P., & Stefkovich, J.A. (2011). Ethical leadership and decision making in education: Applying
theoretical perspectives to complex dilemmas(3 rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. ...
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