Monday, August 22, 2011

Pay-to-Play and Democracy

A South Dakota legislator has proposed that SD schools can save some money by introducing "pay-to-play" fees for students wishing to participate in sports, debate, and other school activities.  From a fiscal standpoint this may seem like a good idea, but it is not.  Pay-to-play ensures that only students who can afford the fees (which can be substantial) can participate.  Either these activities are an important part of public education for all students, or they are not and should not be a part of public education.  As I see it, sports and debate and similar extracurriculars can be excellent ways of teaching self-discipline, teamwork, diligence, respect for others, love of learning, and other things that we should want all students to learn.  For just that reason, we should resist limiting access to these activities to just those who - like my family - are wealthy enough to afford them. 

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