Public education no longer free, parents getting hit with fees

[FILE PHOTO by Keesler Air Force Base/video screenshot]
America’s public education system, which already faces criticism for indoctrinating children in liberalismglobalism, anti-Americanism and more, is now facing accusations that it’s been doling out this veritable indoctrination at a steep, inexplicable cost to parents.

Nationwide, school districts made about $6 billion in revenue in 2017 for student fees, textbook sales and rentals, activity costs and tuition such as for extended-day kindergarten,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing data from the U.S. Census. “That was up 20% from 2002 after adjusting for inflation. During that time, more school districts turned to such fees, from 61% to 71%.”

This raises the following question that was posed Sunday morning on “Fox & Friends” by co-host Pete Hegseth: “So what happened to a free public education for kids here in America?”

For answers, he and fellow co-host Jedediah Bila turned to Tommy Schultz, the director of the pro-school choice non-profit American Federation for Children.


Source: Fox News

“So some will say, well, we just need more money for schools. Is this a money problem? What’s happening here?” Hegseth asked as his first question.

Schultz replied that yes, it’s a money problem, but not in the way people think. It’s a “mismanaged school spending” problem in particular, thanks in part to teachers unions.

[A]cross the country we’re spending $700 billion on K-12 education at the state, federal and local level. So that averages out to about $12,000 per kid,” he said.

Fact-check: TRUE.

“We spend more per student than almost any other major country in the world,” President Donald Trump rightly noted during a 2016 campaign rally.

The statement was rated true by PolitiFact, which added that according to data from the National Center on Education Statistics, America spends $12,296 per student on average per year.

“So if you’re a teacher and looking to across your classroom and there’s 20 kids in there, that’s about a quarter million dollars in spending, and then you know your salary, then you know that the teachers union are taking about $1,000 out of my paycheck in places like California, and you start to ask, ‘Where is the rest of this money going?'” Schultz continued.

Good question.

“It’s not going to the teachers and the classrooms. We’ve seen some studies where it’s showing, in big districts especially, maybe only $0.40 out of every dollar spent on education is going to the teachers and the classroom. And so on top of that … parents are having to spend an additional $100 or $200 on textbooks or fees. It’s just incredible. And this is why school choice support is on the rise over the past three years.”

Fact-check: TRUE.

The latest poll by the Harvard University-sponsored journal Education Next found that a 48 percent plurality of Americans support charter schools, while an even larger 55 percent support allowing families with children in public schools “to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition.”

(Source: Education Next)

But despite all this data, Democrats keep pushing for more spending, Bila noted.

“Why?” she asked Schultz, and again he returned to the teachers unions.

“The teachers unions want to control the education system,” he said. “So 82 percent of kids go to a district-run, government-run public school. The teachers unions might spend upwards of $300 million … on politics or non-political spending, and they’re the lifeblood of the Democrat Party. So that’s where you see these talking points from.”

The leading Democrat presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, reportedly wants to triple education spending in districts that contain a lot of low-income students.

However, it’s a false belief that increased spending leads to better academic achievement.

Case in point, courtesy New York:

“Well, we’ve been doing that over the past 50 years, 700 percent increase in public school spending, and you look at where that moneys going. It’s very often going towards non-educational staff, so some bureaucrat in the district office. It’s just incredible,” Schultz said.

Meanwhile, parents are forced to fork over more and more money. Take New York again, where 10 schools in the New York City area in particular have “worked out a private deal with a small Chicago-based business, Yubbler, to sell supplies to parents,” according to the New York Post.

Except that according to the Post, the schools are in fact “strong-arming them into buying supplies at sky-high prices to pad the bottom line.

In concluding the discussion on “Fox & Friends,” Schultz explained how an education system based on school choice would be superior to the current system.

“So it changes the dynamic completely because suddenly, you as parents are in charge of your child’s education,” he said. “You might get back in the form of a voucher or a scholarship of some sort to go to a private school upwards of $7,000, $9,000 dollars, to where you can actually control your child’s education spending.”

He added, “Ultimately when parents have the freedom to choose the best education for their child they know what’s best, and they should be able to do that.”

It’s hard to argue against that, especially given that the current system spends millions in taxpayer funds, then charges parents oodles more for supplies, then funnels huge chunks of that money to unions, and then, to top it off, begs Democrats for more money.


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Vivek Saxena


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