New York Times’ Op-ed: When Schools Depend on Handouts


In an op-ed piece published in the New York Times on August 26, 2011, Michael A. Rebell and Jessica Wolff acknowledge the benign motivations of philanthropists like New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have provided funds to support important educational services that were targets of state budget cuts, but deplore the inequities that result from reliance on private funding for what should be public obligations.  They also describe a growing trend of schools charging students fees for textbooks, lab fees and to participate in extracurricular activities. Even if these fees are sometimes waived for low income students, a fee for service approach is not consistent with the vision of one common school for the rich and the poor that has been integral to our public school system. Given that most state constitutions guarantee all students a sound, basic public education, they argue that this right must be fulfilled–especially for lower income students–even in these tough economic times.

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