Want Your Kid to Succeed in School? It'll Cost You!
Our children are guaranteed an "adequate" free public education. Not ideal, not excellent...just adequate. In budgetary crunch times, adequate going to be defined down as low as possible.
Some schools seem to be stripping down to bare bones with a special zeal, charging not only for extra-curricular activities but for academics as well. What's next? A surcharge if you want a roof on your child's classroom?
At a time we are worried about childhood obesity, better cough up a sports team fee if you want your child to practice teamwork.
When the United States is ranking 25th in math and 24th in science among developed nations (according to a 2009 McKinsey & Co. study), better dig deep into those pockets to find lab fees.
The arts are proven ways to combat our atrocious drop out rate but you're going to need to find a creative way to pay the materials fee.
Is your child aiming for a competitive university? AP classes not only boost a student's transcript, they also boost a student's odds of succeeding in college and completing their degree in four years, no matter what grade the student earned on the exam. So, you better trim your budget because honors and AP classes are going to cost you more (in addition to the test fees).
And how much are these fees saving the schools? According to a local movement in my village, extra-curricular activities represent 1/64th of the school's budget. You know what sucks the most money out of the budget? Benefits and administrator salaries.
Too poor to pay to play? You might get waivers for basic required classes if you live below the poverty line but there are often no waivers for the "extra", including the advanced classes.
We imagine our world as a meritocracy, where each individual can rise according to his or her own talents and ambition. We also think of the United States as a leader in innovation.
All of that rests on a truly adequate education, particularly the advanced classes, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes, and arts classes that require these fees. With "pay to learn", the whole idea of equity is a joke.
Some citizens do not think it right that taxpayers foot the bill for "little Johnny's football". I would ask, would you rather pay now or later when the United States falls further behind?
Should families have to pay for extra-curricular activities, electives, advanced classes, and even textbook and lab fees for required classes?