Do you clip for education?

Well, it’s that time of year again.

School doors across the nation are open and teachers are working hard to educate the youngest of our citizens.

As a mother and grandmother, I’m a coupon clipping machine. I can spot that little red coupon on a product from the far end of the grocery aisle. I’ve been saving and clipping Box Tops for Education (BTE) ever since they came out in 1996.

coupon clip

I don’t even give it a second thought, just clip and stash for the kids.

If I have a choice between two products, one with a coupon and one without, I pick the product with a BTE coupon.

This morning after stuffing yet another coupon in my overflowing jar I began to wonder. Just how much good is the long ingrained habit effecting education?

According to the Box Tops for Education website, each coupon received results in a donation of 10 cents to the school. There you can sign up and find out specific information regarding money paid to the schools.

You can also find out how a specific school ranks with regard to collections, and how much they’ve managed to receive from BTE.

Just plug-in the zip code and voila. According to the website stats, our elementary school reaches for a goal of $2000 per year and over a five-year period received a little over $10,000. Good for them!

BTE boasts they are one of America’s largest school earnings loyalty programs. And distribute earnings to over 80,000 k-8 schools twice a year, in December and April.

Not too shabby for cash strapped schools.

But this still didn’t answer my burning question.

burning questionIs this type of marketing a good way to raise money for our schools?

Well, I don’t know if it’s good for our schools, but it must be good for businesses because another program has arrived to the scene.

Shoparoo. Instead of clipping coupons you use your cell phone to snap pictures of receipts. Receipts from any store, big or small, that sells grocery items earn Roo Points (cash donations) for your school. Shoparoo also offers yearly sweepstakes for photos snapped receipts for restaurants and retailers. 

What does Shoparoo do with your receipts? They sell the data to major consumer brands, plus information from optional user surveys. All anonymous, of course.

An interesting article in the San Antonio Express-News by Richard A. Marini, ask a different set of questions.

Would it be necessary to diligently clip coupons or snap receipts if our schools were sufficiently funded by taxpayers? Is Box Tops for Education, a good cause or helping Big Foods’ bottom line?

Instead of finding an answer, I’ve just more questions swirling around in my brain.

Why must teachers and schools rely on coupons, or fundraising websites like for help?

Is education just not important to us?

If, BTE website stats are correct, schools receive on average $2,000 per year.

But, isn’t there an easier way?

Why not just give $3.33 per child to the school?

At $3.33 each in a 600 student school the goal would be met at the beginning of each year and not doled out as coupons come in. Plus no paperwork for the already overworked teachers and staff.

That’s $3.33 a year!

That’s less than a 6 piece chicken nugget meal, or a Caffe Latte-Grande.

And a better investment, if you ask me.

What do you think? Do you enjoy all the fundraisers necessary to help our teachers?

Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. In the mean time, I’ve more coupons to clip.

You’ve made it this far, so give me just 2 more seconds, and hit Facebook and Twitter and share.

Thank you!

If you’re not already, I’d be much obliged if you would follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!


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