Sock it to the kids
Bullying isn’t just a problem amongst students at your local middle school. Too often, when states and districts find themselves in a financially strapped space (a reality from Atlantic to Pacific), they pass along the suffering to students and families. In California, for example, recent legislation has unilaterally barred teacher layoffs for the 2011-12 school year. In order to mitigate the burden that this will place on already cash-strapped districts, the law will allow them to shorten the school year by seven days—over a week of instructional time. Districts in Illinois (and other states) have taken another route—though one equally detrimental to kids: Pushing costs onto students by charging fees for textbooks, extracurriculars, even required classes like English and physical education. (Some families are writing checks to the tune of $600-plus per child.) This meme may seem repetitive to the avid Gadfly reader, but it bears repeating: There are alternative ways to stretch that school dollar—ones that don’t harm the individuals for which the system exists in the first place.
|Click to listen to commentary on California's shortened school year from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
“California teacher layoff law stirs confusion, criticism,” by Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2011.“Parents see big gap in school fees among districts,” by Diane Rado, Mick Swasko, and Jim Jaworski, Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2011.
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