The lawsuit filed against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union highlights what most people already know: Public education is no free ride.
Fees for band uniforms and sports tournaments have long been in place, but over the years, they have spread to more and more aspects of school life — lab materials, supplemental books, rentals, field trips and extracurricular activities. It's no coincidence that these fees have propagated to fill the void left behind by the receding waters of state education funding.
To argue it's unfair to charge students to play in band, or keep up with their colleagues in show choir, sounds fine, but then we must consider where else the money will come from. Certainly, Sacramento's chokehold on education funding shows no signs of loosening up, and the cost of playing sports, servicing band instruments, sending choirs to out-of-town competitions, or supplying cooking classes will only continue to increase.