Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Very Real Costs of Free Public Education

Eduflack takes up the hidden "tax" on parents with kids entering public school. I talked about this issue about this time last year. Here is what I wrote,
My question is why do I and every other parent have to provide these supplies?

The answer, this school supply list is a scam, it is a "tax," a means of forcing parents to pay more for the public education system beyond the personal needs of their child and their already hefty tax payments. The school system gets the parents to buy "school supplies" so the system doesn't have to do the heavy lifting of determining what supplies are needed and how to pay for them. The school doesn't have to manage inventory, track useage rates, and all the other matters involved in supply provision and control. If schools need something or the teachers need something, they simply add it to the list of "school supplies" for each pupil and then "tax" each student to provide for the common "good." It doesn't matter to the schools, for there is a steady stream of new parents and new students each year to "tax."

The school supply tax is the perfect governmental scheme of passing responsibility onto the "tax payer" and shirking accountability for the use of the taxes.
I got one comment that called me an anti-tax whiner.

Well, I am an anti-tax whiner. I don't care about having to buy supplies for my child to use, after all they are needed by my child. I can enforce accountability on my child for the proper use and maintenance of those supplies. The fact that most parents walk into Target, Wal-Mart or other stores to buy supplies for "common useage" without thinking that they are paying a tax just makes it easier to get around the problem of the tax. If the parents had to write a check at the start of each year rather than buying the supplies themselves, then there would be greater impact.

The fact is, with the regular growth in school budgets, one should ask, "with so much more money from year to year, why do teachers and students have to buy common useage supplies?" That people don't is troubling and if by my asking, I am an anti-tax whiner, then I wear the label with pride.

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