On a free public education
Because of Budget crisis here in California we’re getting scary letters from the School District about nasty things to come, such as reoving sertain positions, less extra activities and potentially large classes. The district also takes a lot of other measures to balance the budget such as looking at the bonds and tax mesures. So a lot of things can be done but not asking parents to pay money – the education has to be free and available to everyone.
The public education is NOT free, it is just the payments for it have to be collected in the indirect way so people think it is. Schools are good here in Pleasanton, but guess what – the house prices are hundreds of thousands of dollars more than in neighborhoods with not so good schools and rents are higher too. The low income family would not able to afford living in Pleasanton anyway and so to afford equally good schools as more fortunate people.
I think it is good schools and local infrastructure is paid from the local taxes but I also think it would benefit a lot if schools could attract extra funding directly. Why not get parents at the school to vote and see if they would like to pay extra tuition or take a staff or activity hikes for their children?
Now there are probably some people in the school which can’t afford to pay. So what? There could be income based “scholarship” programs to waive payments for those who can’t afford it.
In fact this is how I studied back in Russia in my latest years in “lyceum” – we had to pay certain tuition (even though it was mostly government funded) – and there were few people in the class who could not and so they did not. Well though in that case it was mandatory with no parents involvement.
So I’m watching how it develops but it would be very sad to have set backs on education quality when a lot of local parents put it high on their list due to some laws which are designed to make things look like they are fair to everyone.