Friday, May 12, 2006

It's illegal, no it's not, well...we don't really know...just wait till you are sued and then find out

In the Alice and Wonderland world of public laws affecting education, consider the following:

  • Kindergarten is not a requirement for students in Indiana
  • However, schools are required to offer kindergarten for students in Indiana
  • Indiana funds only half-day kindergarten
  • Some Indiana schools offer full-day kindergarten and charge fees to support the additional costs
  • A recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling on parent fees resulted in attorney opinions saying schools can't charge fees for full-day Kindergarten because the state requires schools to offer it so it must be tuition free
  • Indiana schools are faced with dropping the extra half day of Kindergarten or offering it as child care only and providing only child care providers instead of teachers (then you can charge for it) Note: Did you screw one eyebrow up in the air after that one?
  • The state department sends another memo saying essentially, "don't worry about it until you get sued"
  • The governor and the department of education are promoting full day kindergarten as a needed program with the state willing to fund for it.

Let's sort this out:

Kindergarten is important enough to offer. Not important enough to require.

You can charge for child care if you want because it isn't instruction. You can't charge for an "extra" half day of kindergarten because it is an extension of a required curriculum. It is required for schools but not for students. Hmmm.

Oh well, just another day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Critique of Newsweeks Top 100 High Schools List

By now most of you have seen the Newseek magazine annual list of America's top 100 high schools. Here is a critique of their methodology.

Why Newsweek's List of America's 100 Best High Schools Doesn't Make the Grade

Our research shows that Newsweek's methodology is far too focused on one
discrete indicator of school quality and that many schools that fail to make the
Newsweek list may be doing a better job educating all of their students.