And so begins the game of scare tactics.
After viewing a Wake County budget proposal that falls short of what the school system was asking for, Wake school leaders have started the process of finding places to trim back their own spending plans.
Part of that equation, apparently, is to consider ways to raise revenue. Among the ideas floated last week was one that suggested requiring students to pay a fee to participate in interscholastic athletics. Fees and taxes are one way governments discourage certain activities. Think smoking is a bad idea? Governments tax the tarnation out of tobacco products. Some people unwilling or unable to pay the higher prices, quit.
The same thing would happen to some student-athletes if they were suddenly required to pay a fee to play. And that would not be good because there are more students than we care to admit who keep passing grades and manage their schoolwork only because they want the opportunity to play ball. Absent the opportunity to play a sport, some of those students might simply decide to drop out of high school and move on with their lives.
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That’s a mistake and reasonable minds know it. No one ever said every 16-year-old has a reasonable mind, though. Those who don’t drop out, but don’t try their best in school because they’ve lost their motivation, will simply become a drag on other students who do want to learn the material taught in the classroom.
Students already pay for an ever-growing number of rights and privileges in our public schools, from the cost of graduation caps and gowns to fees to park their cars on public school parking lots.
Taxing the students and their families for more money is simply the wrong way for the school system to go.