School Board Decision-Making and the Elimination of Sport Participation Fees
Public schools in the US are increasingly charging ‘pay-to-play’ fees for participating in sports. Although these fees can cause reductions in participation, particularly for children from lower-income families, pay-to-play has become a legitimate practice within the field of public education. This study examines what leads some school districts to abandon sport participation fees, despite the trend in adoption. In particular, using a qualitative, case study approach, we investigate why and how school districts eliminate pay-to-play. We found that the decision to terminate pay-to-play in the ‘Ellis’ district was shaped by the community culture and district leadership. Our findings are supported by data on surrounding school districts. This study contributes to the literatures on institutional change; privatization of health, sport and physical education; and school board decision-making. The findings also shed light on the local context of pay-to-play—a policy that has implications for social equity and youth health and wellness.
Sport Education and Society
Heinze, K. & Zdroik, J. (2016). School board decision-making and the elimination of sport participation fees. Sport, education and society, 23(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2016.1139562
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Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis