Playing dumb on why students are charged illegal fees

Nov. 1, 2012

Chris Reed: I think some of the best writing about California’s public schools appears on education-specific blogs and websites, not in newspapers. I’ve read EdSource regularly for a long time. But these sites also serve up lots of copy from people in the education establishment who duck all hard truths about public schools and pretend all problems stem from a lack of money. A new piece by the president of the San Carlos School District is a classic example. Why have we seen state legislation trying to force schools to stop charging kids for basic education materials? Seth Rosenblatt offers the easy answer:

“[T]his problem is in large part a direct result of the massive underfunding of our public schools in this state. School districts have always been forced to be ‘creative’ in how they deliver programs with less money, and in many cases that has involved charging students and families.”

Sorry, but this problem is the result of financial practices demanded and enforced by teacher unions that mandate automatic annual pay hikes for most employees based on years on the job. It is a symptom of the systematic hollowing out of school operating budgets to ensure that almost all funds go to employee compensation.

And it’s not even the most egregious example. That would be how 30-year bonds are being used to pay for painting and other routine maintenance and for laptops and iPads.

This problem is also the result of a mindset that holds state laws can be ignored, because if we’re caught, we can just say it’s all about the kids. But it’s not all about the kids. It’s about propping up an adult jobs program with little regard to how students are affected.


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  1. nadia macri
    nadia macri 1 November, 2012, 14:09

    Back in my country of origin I went o school on any kind of weather and most of the time we shared a text book among two or even three of us kids. I n the dead of winter we had no heat most of the time and we had to keep our coats on and constantly pinch our fingers so they will not freeze. Guess what we all graduated and learned most of the contents in the textbook, we had to pass a test showing the percentage of our knowledge, nobody passed if they knew less than 70%, when I went to college here in the state I knew most of the generel knowledge without using the text book too much, just as a refresher, it was expensive like the devil to buy one, everybody was my best friend on the day we had a test so I would give them the answers. Can anybody tell me why is it so hard for the kids with the most optimal conditions to learn? and all the rest that prtend they can’t learn because they are poor? Poverty and harsh conditions have nothing to do with the desire to learn, these theoretical inventions belong to the liberal media that has allways an excuse why something or another thing is not going well, it’s allways some excuse and none of it it’ real. I know I have been there and it wasn’t because the communists took my father’s store and made him work in a toxic envionment until he died and it was’t when they took our house away so a gypsy familly can move in , they were Communist party memebers and we were not, all those excuses we could have and yet we went to school without complaining and learned, because we were told we have to make do, and we did. It is that simple.

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  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 1 November, 2012, 23:04

    I went to school walking uphill both ways…you know….

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  3. veritas-III
    veritas-III 2 November, 2012, 13:39

    nadia macri – if you grew up under the (east-european) communist regime, then you know the REALITY of life! U R wasting your time to ‘preach’ to the ‘soft, overweight, unmotivated kids’ in CAlifornia, whose parents vote for Obama, because he will tax the ‘rich’ – LOL!

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