Year of publication
Education, Justice, and Democracy
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
In D. Allen, & R. Reich (Eds)
Nearly all countries, including the United States, view elementary and secondary education as so important for the well being of both individuals and society that they make schooling compulsory through some age, whether that be 14 as in many developing countries or 16 or 18 as in various U.S. states. In addition, there is a worldwide consensus that all students, but especially those in primary school, should have access to free, publicly financed schools with no required school fees. In practice many countries, especially developing countries with limited resources, do not meet this latter requirement, and often permit schools to charge fees that in some cases can be substantial (see Ladd and Fiske 2008: ch. 16). The policy throughout the United States has been clear: public schools, including both traditional schools and publicly funded charter schools, are not permitted to require parents to pay school fees for their children to enroll in the school. Compulsory schooling, supported by full public funding, reflects the observation that elementary and secondary education provides not only private benefits to those who attend school and their families but also public benefits to the broader society.