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Opening Arguments

Free means free

A lot of people are asking this question: Should state pay for students' textbooks? Some say no, for this reason:

Some lawmakers expressed concern about finding enough money to provide free textbooks and still afford state-funded full-day kindergarten.

“As a former school board member, I am used to unfunded mandates and having to borrow money for things that the state has set,” said Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte. “I believe we need to focus first on the free- and reduced-lunch kids. Right now, the state isn't even covering 100 percent of that.”

I say yes. Schools can already offer full-day kindergarten if they choose. There is conflicting research on its value, so the local option seems like a decent idea. The state constitution, however, requires the state to provide students a free education. As long as parents have to pay for books, that constitutional requirement isn't being met.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


tim zank
Thu, 01/18/2007 - 7:03am

So how do I go about getting back the thousands of dollars I've paid for my kids school books over the years of their "free" education?

Bob G.
Thu, 01/18/2007 - 8:16am

Free education..yes
Free lunch...nope.

You're there to LEARN first.
You want to eat too? Pay for it.

(maybe if some parents could learn to figure out the whole milk-cereal-spoon thing....right?)


Steve Towsley
Thu, 01/18/2007 - 1:29pm

How can government mandate all-day kindergarten without feeding kids whose health requires 3 meals a day?

In college you make your own schedule and your own breaks, but in K-12 public school you're subject to the schedule imposed. Everybody needs lunch, affordable lunch. I don't know if "free" is the ideal, but cheap is the least the state can do in exchange for its efforts to produce generations of better educated kids.

Just my .02.

Fri, 01/19/2007 - 2:28am

good comments. maybe they could find someone willing to print less expensive school books. I think it gives people the wrong idea to get free lunches. They need to learn that you need to contribute and work for something that you need or want. Free lunches then the parents have to volunteer at school. Something............they even get free lunch in the parks during the summer!

Steve Towsley
Fri, 01/19/2007 - 3:55pm

>maybe they could find someone willing to
>print less expensive school books.

This idea actually has much more merit than people think.

"Book club editions" would be sufficient in many cases, especially since a hardcover book that lasts seven years if you're lucky may be out of date for the last five.

I never needed glossy four-color texts on ultra-white heavy paper with coffee-table-quality bindings, and I rarely if ever got my money out of those textbooks.

I don't suggest we downgrade to the point of 3-ring binders with the hole-punched pages ripping out of them, but disposable textbooks are a concept that probably deserve more deliberation.

Bob G.
Sun, 01/21/2007 - 3:46pm

And books than can be disposable...can be recycled...a veritable self-perpetuating source of education, perhaps?