A bill for Japanese free school system.

Call me thick. When you say school is free I do not expect to  get a bill.

This school year ended with a bill for my two childeren’s third trimester.

I don’t have a problem paying for school lunches, in fact I would say it is a deal at 4,200 yen apiece. The problem I have is the bill for items that I have no say in, things the children have to have in order to participate in the compulsory education system.

In this school year we got a bill for a 30,000 yen ski trip. Is it required? Yes. A part of class. A bill for a 50,000 yen  school trip to Hiroshima and Yamaguchi. Again, required. The bills that really get me are the ones for supplementary books used in class, that is to say the books that are required in addition to the texts, projects that are required for class, and the bills for tests. Yes, the tests that are again required but the parents are required to pay for.

There is also the fee associated with the voluntary PTA. Voluntary. But one is required to participate and pay fees.

I have never raised childeren in the U.S., where I am from, so it is impossible for me to compare. I have asked the school what is free about the school. The answer, the buildings, the teachers salaries, operating costs of the plant, i.e., heat, lighting.

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One Response to “A bill for Japanese free school system.”

  1. NigatsuBebe Says:

    Hn. That is odd, I will agree.

    But from someone who has gone to many, many American public schools, they are also not free. Signing up is free. Sometimes public buses are free. Lunches are free if you are “economically disadvantaged”. But if not, it is about $3-6 a day for lunch in Florida. I could feed myself at home on less than $2 a day and still eat well.

    Textbooks are free. If the student loses one, of course, he must pay for it. And if a teacher loses it, it is easy to blame the student, and the student ends up paying for it anyways. Many books you must pay for, especially in 9th-12th grade. Our schools cannot afford to pay for books. But the students often cannot pay for books, so in the end, only one of three graduates from my high school can read at an 8-year-olds’ level. The cost to society from there is also not free.

    There are many projects required for class, and those cost money to do. Things like making stuffed animals for science class (no, I don’t know why. But it was mandatory.) I do not recall billing for testing though, except for the SAT. One must take it for High School, but if somehow this does not happen, one will have to take it again to try to get into college. There is no mandatory PTA, but any money they raise is not allowed to be used for education. So when our school cut the adult literacy program for high school kids who cannot read because there was no money, we still had thousands of dollars in PTA money for a new basketball trophy case. For trophies they could not understand.

    I am considered to be somewhat brilliant by American standards, but consider the standards. When I met my friend K- from Sapporo, I felt so, so stupid. She studied for majors that don’t exist in America, spoke five languages fluently, so good at maths… I was very proud of her, and a little envious. I wished I had the opportunity for a better education like she had. I would have happily found a way to repay my parents if I could have gone to schools like hers, regardless of cost! I am sure that your two will appreciate your efforts very much when they are older.

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