back tuition

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hungaloftthenight

Senior Member
Italiano
Hello everyone,
could anyone help me with the sentence in bold? I don't understand if "back tuition" is just a way of saying "compensation" or if it means that the woman (who is a teacher) was asked to teach at the school for free to make up for cheating the system.

In 2009, Kelley a forty-year-old, black, single mother of two, was arrested for sending her kids to school in the wrong school district. Kelley, who lives in a housing project in Akron, Ohio, and works as a teaching assistant for special-needs children, sent her daughters to school in a better neighborhood by using her father’s home address as her residence. Gaming the educational system is hardly new, and it’s something that white upper-middle-class parents do frequently and with impunity. But when Ohio offi cials found out that Williams-Bolar’s children didn’t live with their grandfather, they ordered her to pay over thirty thousand dollars in “back tuition.” When Williams-Bolar couldn’t pay, she was charged with grand theft and sentenced to five years in prison.

Thank you!
 
  • waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    They ordered her to pay money, not to teach.

    "Tuition" is the fee charged by a school. Public schools in the US are free, but since she found to be sending her kids to a school they were not legally entitled to attend she was ordered to pay "back tuition" to it for the previous schooling.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Tuition that was owed, but never paid. It's also used in phrases like "back taxes" and "back rent." (They owe extra money because they didn't live in the district that they claimed they did.)
     

    Teerex51

    Senior Member
    Italian, standard
    Hello everyone,
    could anyone help me with the sentence in bold? I don't understand if "back tuition" is just a way of saying "compensation" or if it means that the woman (who is a teacher) was asked to teach at the school for free to make up for cheating the system.
    No on both counts, I'm afraid. Back tuition is the amount of school fees she should have paid over time but didn't.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    As waltern pointed out, in the US we very seldom (if ever) use "tuition" to mean "the act of tutoring;" we use it to mean "money paid for education." I think that's what confused you the most. No shame in that!
     

    hungaloftthenight

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Yes exactly, I am more familiar with British English and I think there "tuition" means generally "the act of tutoring". Thank you for the useful explanation!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I found this a little confusing, since the passage began talking about "Kelley" and went on to talk about someone named "Williams-Bolar" owing the back tuition.
     

    hungaloftthenight

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Yes this mother's name is Kelley Williams-Bolar. She had already been mentioned in the text with her full name. Sorry I forgot to add the surname in the passage. Thank you anyway!
     
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