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Charging students to take driving ed in school ?
May 17, 2011By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School
More on driver's ed
House Republicans want to charge North Carolina high school students for driver's education. It's an idea whose time has come, especially at the cost proposed.
Over the past several years, the idea has been raised and defeated several times. Under a Democratic Legislature, the proposal died on the grounds that it was unfair to the poor. The argument simply does not hold up. This General Assembly will cut between $2.4 billion and $3 billion from last year's spending. Cuts to public education, community colleges and UNC will be massive. In the public schools alone, thousands of teachers, teachers' aides and support personnel will be fired either directly by the Legislature or indirectly by local school boards when state cuts filter down.
In this environment, North Carolinians must ask themselves which is more important: free publicschool instruction in English, math and history, or free instruction in driver's education.
The proposal is not to eliminate driver's education, or even to eliminate all state funding for the instruction. If that were the proposal, we would oppose it vehemently. Driver's education is essential as a means of preparing young people for the safe operation of motor vehicles.
Under the proposal, the state will continue to pay about three-quarters of the cost of driver's education. The student will be responsible for $75, and that will save the state $8.7 million.
If students can afford to pay for gas, registration, a driver's license, insurance, hub caps, etc., they can help pay for their driver's instruction.