I have been listening to Chris Anderson's book Free: the Future of a Radical Price. In the book he talks about the perceived value of free. The perception of free is often something without value. Of course this is something we sometimes ignore because of our experience of "free" sites we use on the internet.
I have often thought that more of the public would be interested in public education if they had to go to their local schools to pay their taxes. (In Missouri property tax helps pay for local schools.) This would make the person paying actually see the connection between schools and taxes. Obviously the problem is there are a lot of people that don't pay property taxes directly.
Recently my jr. high team was creating a supplies list for next year's students. I made a comment about the expense of the list, I thought it was pretty low compared to some of the other grades. The other teacher told me that he knew of a school that just collected money from students to buy supplies. Then the teachers use the money to buy supplies for the whole class.
What would happen if we required our parents to give $30 dollars to the school at the beginning of the year for supplies? Would parents value their children's education more if they had to write out a check?