Are Public Schools Too Expensive for Lower Income Families?

If you have kids in public school, have you noticed that the list of items they are required to bring to school keeps growing year-by-year?

School districts are regularly asked to provide an education for more kids with less money. Classrooms have gone from 20 students to sometimes nearly 40 students, for one teacher to handle and teach.

As school districts face tighter budgets, fewer supplies are being provided to classrooms, so the burden is being placed on the parents, many of which cannot afford to provide everything on the list.

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Does the list from your kid(s) include liquid soap, paper towels, ear buds, duct tape and copy paper? When should kids and their parents be required to provide copy paper for the public school their kids attend?

Samantha Key, a parent in Decatur, Alabama said that it cost her around $100 to provide everything on the list for her one kid. Then she wondered how parents with four kids in school can afford to provide everything for four lists.

To make it harder for parents many schools are requiring specific notebooks or pocket folders, including color and style. In Key’s case, her child is required to have a blue glossy pocket folder with brads. The problem is that all the kids are required to have the same blue glossy pocket folder and it doesn’t take long for store supplies to run out. Stores usually get their supplies in bulk that contains many different colors, but in the case in Decatur, they all have to be blue.

Often, the supplies being required may not ever be used by the student required to provide them.

In today’s tech age, schools and teachers expect and even require students to have a computer and internet access, but is that a realistic requirement? What about the millions of low income families who cannot afford to buy a computer or pay for monthly internet access? Not every low income family is given free internet or computers by the Obama administration policies, so what are they supposed to do? The pat answer from many teachers and school is for the student to go to the public library and use their computers. If it’s a low income area, public libraries don’t have nearly enough computers for every low income student. Additionally, there is the added cost of printing out reports and papers at libraries as they aren’t free either.

My granddaughter attends public school and her single mom is disabled and living on less than $650 per month. She can’t afford to buy a computer and neither can we. Currently, we are preparing a 10-year-old laptop with none of the modern programs to give to her to use for school. I had to replace that laptop about 5-years-ago because the laptop was having problems and I needed a reliable computer for my job. There is no telling how long this laptop will last but what alternative does she have?

I, for one, believe that public schools are demanding too many supplies and technology of students whose families cannot afford to provide them. There is no doubt that public schools are becoming far too expensive for many lower income families. They can’t afford private schooling nor can they homeschool. What are they supposed to do?

Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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