Friday, January 15, 2010

Giving more power to a large part of the problem

Maybe it’s me, but I’m getting the feeling that the government almost wants public schools to fail.  Think I’m kidding?  Bare with me.

Charter schools are being promoted as the next greatest thing because they create a different environment than public education.  Why is that?

Less government oversight.  Charter schools have the luxury of making rules that can better benefit the academic atmosphere.  Yet public schools are required to follow Education Code to the letter and are constantly threatened by sue happy parents if we don’t.  Case in point, Ukiah’s local charter school on absenteeism:

        Excessive absenteeism will be grounds for a hearing and possible referral to another school or service.

          Excessive absenteeism in public education has now become part of the culture, only the parents actually condone it.  Students can be absent over and over again with excuses from their family members and it has no impact on their standing regarding their eligibility to be in school.  The comment made over and over again;  “Every student has a right to an education”.  Ok, except that if that student doesn’t attend a charter school regularly, they can be removed.  If that student doesn’t attend a public school, they are forced to remain a strain on the school resources and eventually show up negatively on Standardized test scores. 

How about academics?  Once again, to the local charter.

In the event that a student is not making adequate progress in all classes defined as “satisfactory progress” or better, the student’s Advisor may convene a Student Study Team with all involved staff.

a. The student and parent/guardian will be encouraged to participate.

b. The goal will be to identify barriers to achievement, explore ways to remove those barriers, and facilitate the development of a plan.

2. The Advisor will monitor implementation of the plan and work with the student and parent to identify improvements and continued need to implement or modify the plan.

1. Failure to achieve after implementation of the plan may result in referral to another school or service. Effort will be made to avoid transferring a student to a school that operates on a semester basis at any time other than the beginning of a semester.

2. The Principal is authorized to remove from school any student who is not demonstrating adequate academic progress at any time.

Again, less government oversight.  I can’t get lazy kids out of my Advanced Placement classes without an act of Congress, much less our students being kicked out of school for poor academic progress.  Hell, I’ve been in suspension/expulsion meetings where school officials have supported students for using marijuana on campus because the student has an IEP and it is a “manifestation of the student’s disability”.   

See, a public school actually has to follow the motto “Every student has the right to an education”, while a charter school has the ability to wiggle its way out of that phrase by avoiding total accountability.  With all due respect, it really isn’t progress when a Principal can remove a student because the student doesn’t “demonstrate adequate academic progress”.  With that rule, Ukiah High could be out of Program Improvement in one year and we can start to satisfy students that actually want to engage in the learning process. 

Now comes “Race to the Top”, the newest crap from Educrats that does little to nothing about the real problems in education.  No, I’m not talking about linking test scores to teacher performance.  The latest California education legislation says that test scores are a component of a teacher’s evaluation, which they should be.  No, I’m talking about the new parent involvement stipulations.  I’m talking about giving power to the same group of people who are helping create the education problem in the first place.  So parents have more power to dictate change in a low performing school, a school that is probably low performing because parents are not doing their job teaching students to attend school in the first place.  Makes perfect sense.  What?  You don’t think that parents of involved students aren’t already engaged in trying to change the atmosphere of the school?  All that the new laws do is empower and enable those parents to continue to blame the rest of society for their own lapses in judgment.  Take my kid to Mexico for three weeks, watch my kid love Mexico and do no school work, my kid fails the STAR exam at school, obviously the school is mismanaged.  It sounds like the idiotic referendum political system in California.  When the legislature has no balls to get things done, they throw out a tasty morsel of political garbage out to the general public.  Those that know the game look on in horror as the 70% of people that don’t have a clue vote on something that totally screws them.  This education legislation works the same way.  Involved parents, administrators, and teachers watch in horror as the legislature caves to factional idiocy, those that refuse to see themselves as partially responsible for the educational process.  Now families can safely take that ski trip to Tahoe without fear of holding their kid accountable, because if teachers make a wrong move, out goes the “spoiled union lackey” and the school turns charter. 

Just like the government seems to want.          

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