Tuesday, February 23, 2010

School Days DAZE!

I really don’t get this.

Today, WFPL Radio reports that Speaker of the Kentucky House Greg Stumbo again stated – as he did a few days ago – that we can cut two days from the Kentucky public school year without any real problems.

The VERY SAME DAY, the House Education Committee votes out House Bill 154, which will create a pilot program in something like 20 or 30 schools which will ADD 300 hours to the school year – somewhere around 50 more days!

So, at the very same time the House leader says we can cut school days, the education committee under his jurisdiction says we need to add more – a lot more – at least in a number of schools.

I don’t see how we can afford HB 154, not even as a pilot. We certainly could never scale this up to cover every school in the state.

Furthermore, the idea that some public school students would get such an enormous disparity in education time probably runs headlong into legal issues with the equal rights provisions of the US Constitution and similar state-level statutes.

I should point out something else. One of the criticisms we hear against charter schools is the claim that the methods they use can’t be scaled to regular public schools. Well, double ditto for adding 50 extra school days to every school in Kentucky. That’s just not going to happen. So, what’s the point of a pilot that can’t be turned into a system-wide program?

By the way, charter schools can do, and are doing, a lot of what I heard discussed in the committee meeting a lot cheaper.

And, we could probably start far more charter schools over time than we could ever add to a 300-hour pie in the sky pilot program.

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