Discussion in 'General Education' started by Securis, Dec 13, 2009.
Dec 13, 2009
Can someone remind me why public education is "free".
To help provide for the common good?
Because if left to their own devices, many parents would not send their children to school? So education is mandated, and therefore paid for with public funds, by the government?
Those are just 2 ideas off the top of my head...
The link to the rest of the article:
This article provides a decent, albet brief, history of public education in the US.
Dec 15, 2009
Some things have had me thinking. A terrible thing, I know. It seems sometimes that which is free is not valued very highly nor appreciated very much at all. Conversely, that which we can not have is what we want most and something that we paid for is imbued with concrete value.
Right, mm, an educated electorate was the first thing that sprung to my mind when I read the question.
Dec 16, 2009
I have a pretty significant line on my property tax bill that says education isn't free!
Having worked both public and private, I do say parents and kids are more invested when they're more $invested$.
I also think of third world countries in which poor parents scrape and scrounge to come up with tuition to give their kids the same opportunities available here to all.
We're such a capitalist society, I wonder what school vouchers would do. Every time I walk into a big retail store with bright lighting and attractive displays I think how rundown my classroom is, and how schools would be forced to be better if they had to entice the consumer dollar the same as retail.
I know, a big can of worms...
Where does that happen? In most very poor countries, it seems that the children very often work either in the home to help their parents or outside the home for actual pay. Children who are working aren't attending school.
Dec 18, 2009
You are correct. It seems that children in most poor countries are expected to to work and help support the family. (This is just one reason that population growth rates in poor countries tend to be higher than population growth rates in rich countries.) But there are a few countries (e.g. Brazil) that actually pay poor families to send their children to school. Some studies suggest that this may be more effective than directly prohibiting child labor.
With the school fees parents pay up here (for public school).... book rental fee, driver's ed fees, lab fees, etc... it hardly qualifies as free.
...in Order to form a more perfect Union...promote the general Welfare...
This is perhaps a good start to answering that question.
It's actually not free, unless you're not legally here. You pay taxes. This taxes either cover your education you recieved, if you attended public school as a child in this country, and have no children. Or if you have no children and never attended American public school, it's there for the current generation and/or to give any children you have the right to attend public school. So, it's not free. This is my main problem, as someone who attended a private school, if you get vouchers and your child gets kicked out, where is the money to get them back into piublic school which doesn't have the option to say no. Vouchers, imo, take money away from a school system that needs it. That's "free" school if you ask me.
I understand your point and I agree with you. Parents and children don't value education as much because it is free and they think of it as any other right. Perhaps parents would care more if there was a fee attached to sending their children to school.
Our district is a low income district and they use to provide free summer school to low performing children. However, they started charging a small fee because they found that parents wouldn't be consistent in sending their children unless their was a fee to give them incentive. It is really very sad that so many people take a free education for granted when so many other children in other countries will never get that opportunity.
Dec 20, 2009
Many of those kids do go "free", their families pay no property taxes which is where the bulk of our salaries come from around here.
When something is "free" there's usually an attachment hidden somewhere, you give up a lot for free... dignity, pride, work ethics... It's a shame that education isn't valued by those who need it the most.
Just curious about how they are not paying property taxes? Are they homeless?
And one place where parents are scraping up money for education is Kenya. Despite the country having free education, the students need to buy a uniform sweater and bring food, which is costly.
Dec 21, 2009
You've got some very good points. I have some additional points:
1) Without getting into a debate on the immigration issue, the fact is that undocumented immigrants DO pay taxes. They usually will pay into Social Security (which they cannot collect from), and they also pay sales taxes which go into the general fund (assuming you live in a state with sales taxes) and other user fees whenever they use a service.
2) Public education is not cheap in terms of government expenditure, but the alternative of having an ill-educated populace is even higher. Years ago in Texas, a lot of business people were complaining about having to support the public education system. Well, H. Ross Perot, (remember him?) said to the business folks - if you don't support the schools and let them go to hell, you'll have trouble finding skilled employees, and then your businesses are going to hell. He was able to get support from these business folks to take more interest in supporting public education.
You don't pay school taxes unless you own property, as school taxes are part of your property tax assessment.
Though a landlord will undoubtedly build property taxes into her calculations when determining rent.
As do retailers when determining prices...
Absolutely, but the renter doesn't actually feel the difference if the rates are calculated into all local expenses.
To some extent, they do. When property taxes went up so much in Miami-Dade County, every one of my parents tenants had a fit when their rent went up...a LOT. My parents made no secret of the fact that the reason for the raise in the rent was because of the increase in property taxes (this was, of course, when people renewed their leases, not in the middle of the lease term).
Well, and the point is that even people who don't write the check for the property tax are still paying.
In California, the bulk of the school district budgets come directly from the state government, ever since Prop 13 passed in 1978, which lowered property tax rates and limited the annual increases in property taxes, as well as requiring a 2/3 majority in the legislature to pass a budget and to raise any taxes or fees. As you can imagine, this has led to gridlock in the state legislature and has been a major factor in the state's horrendous financial problems today.
Of course, municipalities are free to propose parcel taxes that can go to schools; typically, more affluent areas have these and these can help fund more programs/infrastructure, etc. But they don't account for a large percentage of a school or school district's budget and haven't for years.
That's why I don't understand why they call it free education. It's not. So, why is it so undervalued?
Free to the participant, newbie. Some people take it for granted, but some don't.
Dec 22, 2009
What kind of percentage would you give your own school district and surrounding community?
I'd give mine something like 25% value it; 75% do not. Though I admit, I've been looking through dark and stained lenses lately.
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