PiE funds should be used for textbooks

As students at Palo Alto High School, we are presented daily with incredible opportunities to push learning and ourselves to the highest levels. Students have the opportunity to receive free counseling, tutoring, internet access and advanced software, opportunities students at most other schools could only dream of. Many of those advantages are given to us through the nonprofit foundation Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE). PiE supports Paly, as well as every other school in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), through generous donations from local benefactors, helping students “reach their fullest intellectual, social and creative potential,” according to their website.

Paly students are incredibly grateful for PiE and all the resources it offers us. However, The Campanile would like donors and PiE to be aware of students needs that have not been in the agenda recently — textbooks.

Although Paly is ahead in the technical arena, textbooks are still an important resource for students in and out of the classroom. Unfortunately, many textbooks at Paly are currently in poor condition.  Most of the math department’s textbooks are scribbled in, have missing pages and duct-taped spines. In the foreign language department, many students have to carry their textbooks to and from class because there are not enough books to make up a full class set. In the library and resource centers, most textbooks are scarce or can not be found at all. We, as students, believe purchasing new textbooks for Paly should be a top priority.

In the last few years, Paly and other schools in PAUSD have received an inordinate number of Chromebooks, MacAirs, and iPads through PiE and local foundations. Paly now has hundreds of laptops and Chromebooks, as well as several iPad carts. Just a few years ago, laptops at Paly were scarce — teachers would have to book laptop carts weeks in advance just so a class could use them for  single period. This problem no longer exists. Many academic departments have their own laptop carts, and departments that do not own carts have the option to book time in one of Paly’s many computer labs.

This is not to say that Paly students do not appreciate these donations of laptops and other forms of technology. Of course, the staff of The Campanile recognizes how privileged our student body is, and how helpful technology can be in exciting students to explore and learn.

By bringing attention to the condition of Paly’s textbooks, we hope to redirect some of these donated funds from technology to books, and help bring focus to what is currently needed in the eyes of the students.