Many Public Schools Begin Charging Students For Attending Class, Textbook Use, Teachers’ Materials

3235856104_9f5fe8f4c4This is so sad: in school districts across the country, the concept of a free public education is fading into the past. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.

At high schools in several states, it can cost more than $200 just to walk in the door, thanks to registration fees, technology fees and unspecified “instructional fees.”

Though public schools have long charged for extras such as driver’s education and field trips, many are now asking parents to pay for supplies needed to take core classes—from biology-lab safety goggles to algebra workbooks to the printer ink used to run off grammar exercises in language arts. In some schools, each class comes with a price tag, to be paid at registration. Some schools offer installment plans for payment. Others accept credit cards—for a processing fee.

Nationally, district after district has eliminated or cut enrichment programs for gifted students, help for struggling readers, advanced math and science courses, music, art, foreign languages, drama, sports. Some have tried asking local residents to approve higher taxes, only to be shot down at the polls. So administrators say fees are the only way to stave off even more drastic cuts.

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  • Anton

    America is done for. And we will go down praising the people who made it all happen.

    Take Ronald Reagan for instance. Popularly considered the best president of the US ever. While in truth, he was the man who pushed for the bills that are responsible for getting us in this mess in the first place.

    • Luke

      Great analysis! Reagan was indeed the saddest excuse for a president the U.S.A. have ever seen….
      but he can’t be blamed alone, every dumbass president who re-appointed madmen like Greenspan, Rubin, or Friedman should be put to trial for fucking up the world as we know it!
      cheers!

  • Anton

    America is done for. And we will go down praising the people who made it all happen.

    Take Ronald Reagan for instance. Popularly considered the best president of the US ever. While in truth, he was the man who pushed for the bills that are responsible for getting us in this mess in the first place.

  • Rolondo

    Start by cutting the pentagon’s budget by 75%.

    • SirZachariah

      Schools are funded by states and local communities. Federal spending cuts will be great, but they won’t fund schools.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        Yeah. whatever. We must follow the status quo, right? Even if it means walking over a cliff.

        The rules can change or haven’t you been paying attention? 

  • Rolondo

    Start by cutting the pentagon’s budget by 75%.

  • Malk

    screw education!
    we need bombs and tanks! there’s a war or two or three going on and we started em!
    pencils won’t kill our enemies! we need multi-million dollar missiles!
    fuck the future! spend spend spend!! PREEMPTION FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (it’s opposite day right?…)
    seriously though, anyone with ten cents in their piggy bank brain knows this is exactly what america deserves. Ever since i left the states ive felt ashamed to answer the question “where are you from” because I have to associate myself with the king of corruption, lord of the idiots, and war extraordinaire USA! USA! USA! stupid fucking college riot mobs….

    it’s a sad fate for all the great people that happen to live on american soil, but the country, the systems it operates, should have been flushed down the drain to hades about forty years ago.

  • Malk

    screw education!
    we need bombs and tanks! there’s a war or two or three going on and we started em!
    pencils won’t kill our enemies! we need multi-million dollar missiles!
    fuck the future! spend spend spend!! PREEMPTION FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (it’s opposite day right?…)
    seriously though, anyone with ten cents in their piggy bank brain knows this is exactly what america deserves. Ever since i left the states ive felt ashamed to answer the question “where are you from” because I have to associate myself with the king of corruption, lord of the idiots, and war extraordinaire USA! USA! USA! stupid fucking college riot mobs….

    it’s a sad fate for all the great people that happen to live on american soil, but the country, the systems it operates, should have been flushed down the drain to hades about forty years ago.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    As usual, devils advocate time…

    I’ve been getting the feeling that the public education system just doesn’t work as it is. The most important learning years of a child are gobbled up by their inferior, and indoctrinating public school education. I expect years of a truly lost generation to come of this… but from this, something better (or at least unfathomably different) than the current public school system. Maybe we really need a complete destruction of the current system, because as it is right now, kids are screwed.

    We need more specialization in education. a “global” education doesn’t work because what can be defined as “global” is infinitely smaller than the grand scheme of what kids can be taught, and in this, the chooser of the curriculum has a huge impact on the public’s knowledge base. I think we just need to accept that some students will always be terrible at math. Hell we’re already going back to feudalism… why not bring back organic education such as apprenticeship too…

    • SF2K01

      Well it really depends on the area. In some areas, the public schools are well enough supported by local taxes that they run rather well. They still charge some fees sure, but they’re generally doing ok. In other areas, your only hope for your kid is a good private school (which are actually fairly affordable sometimes). Heck, you’d be surprised at the numbers of non-catholic kids in catholic schools these days.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Theres always going to be “good” education in respects to the current education paradigm. However, I’m arguing that the paradigm is what has the problems.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    As usual, devils advocate time…

    I’ve been getting the feeling that the public education system just doesn’t work as it is. The most important learning years of a child are gobbled up by their inferior, and indoctrinating public school education. I expect years of a truly lost generation to come of this… but from this, something better (or at least unfathomably different) than the current public school system. Maybe we really need a complete destruction of the current system, because as it is right now, kids are screwed.

    We need more specialization in education. a “global” education doesn’t work because what can be defined as “global” is infinitely smaller than the grand scheme of what kids can be taught, and in this, the chooser of the curriculum has a huge impact on the public’s knowledge base. I think we just need to accept that some students will always be terrible at math. Hell we’re already going back to feudalism… why not bring back organic education such as apprenticeship too…

  • Anonymous

    Well it really depends on the area. In some areas, the public schools are well enough supported by local taxes that they run rather well. They still charge some fees sure, but they’re generally doing ok. In other areas, your only hope for your kid is a good private school (which are actually fairly affordable sometimes). Heck, you’d be surprised at the numbers of non-catholic kids in catholic schools these days.

  • SirZachariah

    It’s better than raising taxes. Who else should pay for one’s own education?

  • SirZachariah

    It’s better than raising taxes. Who else should pay for one’s own education?

  • SirZachariah

    Schools are funded by states and local communities. Federal spending cuts will be great, but they won’t fund schools.

  • SirZachariah

    Schools are funded by states and local communities. Federal spending cuts will be great, but they won’t fund schools.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Theres always going to be “good” education in respects to the current education paradigm. However, I’m arguing that the paradigm is what has the problems.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. whatever. We must follow the status quo, right? Even if it means walking over a cliff.

    The rules can change or haven’t you been paying attention? 

  • Simiantongue

    It’s a tall order, trying to privatize the education system. But there is lots of money to be made by doing it so the system of public education has continually been under attack for decades. It’s almost the holy grail of privatization. Putting an end to the right of public education no matter ones income. Education has been challenged by a dearth in public funding and countless privatization schemes for decades.

    There are some serious problems with public education, almost all of which you would have whether it is a public education system or privatized one. But many would like to to make the non sequitur of,  problem = privatization is the answer. Just be wary of people who are making this claim.

    The methodology of privatization usually plays out the same across many services people have provided for themselves through the institution of public programs at much less cost than a privatized system could. Like electricity, national parks, health care in many parts of the world, water etc. The first tactic of privatization of these services is to get specific individuals elected to key positions where public services are underfunded. The second is, this underfunding creates real problems in the education system which causes an uproar. Then finally declare a crisis. Then comes the revelation to people of a possible solution, that privatization can do a better job of it. In this case the aim is to deregulate and break public control of the education system, divert public money to corporations in the educational business, then raise the price of the good or service. This process has taken a considerable amount of time. But there are financial forces at work that make this process very profitable.

    Take for example the health insurance system in the US. Where any money spent on actual health care is considered and actually called by insiders in the industry “medical loss ratio”. It is that portion of premiums collected from the insured that is actually used for medical care. That is a loss. Loss of what? Yes, you guessed it, a loss of profits. They decrease this medical loss ratio, this loss of profit, by denying people needed medical care. Providing actual health care for people is not even one of the top 5 priorities for health care insurers.

    Just as in health care in the US, so too will it be for public schools one day. Any money actually spent on educating children will be an “education loss ratio”. Whereby outside interests would increasingly control the public education sector. Education policy will be dictated by networks of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate entrepreneurs and lobbyists who’s top priority is not education, but decreasing the education loss ratio by denying children actual education to increase profits, which by law they are legally bound to do, they must consider the bottom line of their investors first over all other considerations.

    This privatization of education scenario is not written in stone just yet. But there are financial forces hammering away at it as we speak.

  • Simiantongue

    It’s a tall order, trying to privatize the education system. But there is lots of money to be made by doing it so the system of public education has continually been under attack for decades. It’s almost the holy grail of privatization. Putting an end to the right of public education no matter ones income. Education has been challenged by a dearth in public funding and countless privatization schemes for decades.

    There are some serious problems with public education, almost all of which you would have whether it is a public education system or privatized one. But many would like to to make the non sequitur of,  problem = privatization is the answer. Just be wary of people who are making this claim.

    The methodology of privatization usually plays out the same across many services people have provided for themselves through the institution of public programs at much less cost than a privatized system could. Like electricity, national parks, health care in many parts of the world, water etc. The first tactic of privatization of these services is to get specific individuals elected to key positions where public services are underfunded. The second is, this underfunding creates real problems in the education system which causes an uproar. Then finally declare a crisis. Then comes the revelation to people of a possible solution, that privatization can do a better job of it. In this case the aim is to deregulate and break public control of the education system, divert public money to corporations in the educational business, then raise the price of the good or service. This process has taken a considerable amount of time. But there are financial forces at work that make this process very profitable.

    Take for example the health insurance system in the US. Where any money spent on actual health care is considered and actually called by insiders in the industry “medical loss ratio”. It is that portion of premiums collected from the insured that is actually used for medical care. That is a loss. Loss of what? Yes, you guessed it, a loss of profits. They decrease this medical loss ratio, this loss of profit, by denying people needed medical care. Providing actual health care for people is not even one of the top 5 priorities for health care insurers.

    Just as in health care in the US, so too will it be for public schools one day. Any money actually spent on educating children will be an “education loss ratio”. Whereby outside interests would increasingly control the public education sector. Education policy will be dictated by networks of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate entrepreneurs and lobbyists who’s top priority is not education, but decreasing the education loss ratio by denying children actual education to increase profits, which by law they are legally bound to do, they must consider the bottom line of their investors first over all other considerations.

    This privatization of education scenario is not written in stone just yet. But there are financial forces hammering away at it as we speak.

  • Luke

    Great analysis! Reagan was indeed the saddest excuse for a president the U.S.A. have ever seen….
    but he can’t be blamed alone, every dumbass president who re-appointed madmen like Greenspan, Rubin, or Friedman should be put to trial for fucking up the world as we know it!
    cheers!