Pay or Play?


Last night at dinner, our friend Liz was telling us about the “end-of-year” survey she received from her daughter’s private elementary school.  She was glad they were asking for parental feedback – because she had quite a few complaints…

At the top of her list was the school’s “Pay or Play” policy.  Basically, the school requires a certain number of volunteer hours from parents, and they monitor this rule closely.  The school makes it clear – in writing – if you cannot commit to the number of hours they require, that you can opt out of volunteering by making a monetary donation of $500 instead.

Liz thinks this policy is totally BUNK.  She doesn’t think that parents who can afford it should be able to buy their way out of volunteering.  While some of us agreed with her, others thought it was a fine solution for the ongoing dilemma of determining what counts as parent involvement and participation.

Tell us what you think!

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2 Responses to “Pay or Play?”

  1. Karen says:

    These private schools seem to have run away with themselves. After you pay tuition, which I am sure is not cheap, volunteering, donating more money or things, etc. should be up to the parent. If the school wants more they should declare it with their tuition. Not all parents are rich, and some are scraping by to make tuition to get what they feel is the best for their child. Private schools become so greedy when they are aware that parents will do whatever they can for their children. Enough is enough!!!

  2. louie says:

    I think the real question to ask is where the $500 per non participant is going? Are they hiring people to fill in with this cash, or is it simply a punishment fine? By the way, as an ex NYC teacher, parental involvement is critical. Your duty to your child and committment to the “private school you have selected” is essential for success. Participate.

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