The flash drive MIGHT come back to you full of photos - did you ask what it will be used for?? we ask all out students to bring in a re writeable cd with them at the start of their school year - we then send it home at the end of the year full of pictures, that are put to music, the parents LOVE it ..
OR .. with ACARA coming in (national curriculum) the stuff being taught to the kids is now MASSIVELY different to what we were taught - the pressure is on .. to teach them more .. earlier - the flash drive might be so that they can complete some of their work on the computer, and save it on their own flash drive??
school isn't cheap - but if you want to whinge about fees, compare the prices of state to private, some of them are THOUSANDS of dollars per term. The fact is that education ISN"T free anymore - the schools simply dont get the funds from the govt that they need to run effectively.
My son's school is in a lower socio economic area, so the fees are only $80 per year (which equates to $2 per school week .. and yet parents at our school whinge .. $2??? are you SERIOUS?? ) and you can pay that off over the year. .. we are also asked to supply some basic things for the classroom (tissues/ ream of paper, etc) which I'm happy to do.
I know as a teacher - how far the classroom budget (which is almost laughable) goes ... and I know that most good teachers blow a decent cut of their own WAGE to pay for extra stuff because they want their classroom to run well, and they want the kids the have the best they can provide .. so as a parent I figure the least I can do is chip in a bit when I can ..