• U.S.

Education: How Free Is Free?

2 minute read

Americans like to believe that the U.S. public high school is free. Not so, says Principal Willard Hawkins of Maryland’s Bel Air Junior-Senior High School, in a report in the current Nation’s Schools. Aside from taxes, the average parent must shell out money all through the year:

¶ Four out of ten of the Maryland schools in Hawkins’ report charge pupils an “activity fee” that may amount to as much as $10 a year.

¶ Almost half the schools charge ”class dues” up to $6.

¶ Some schools assess their pupils as much as $3.50 for the school newspaper, as much as $4.50 for the yearbook.

¶ Almost all schools require students to buy their own gym suits; most charge for class trips, dances, sport equipment.

¶ In 10% of the schools, students must pay for their class play costumes, buy their play books, and pay for their own transportation to games even if they are members of the school teams.

¶ One out of two schools makes pupils provide materials needed in industrial arts and home economics courses; some make them pay for materials used in vocational courses and art classes, charge them for the instruments they play in the school band.

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