Wednesday, September 21, 2016

School district runs school choice program mostly for district employees

Over at the Education Intelligence Agency, Mike Antonucci is amused that one school district, "which has a residency enforcement investigator, also runs a school choice program that mostly benefits the children of its own employees who live outside of the district’s borders."

Education bureaucrat: 'I will question parents as I see fit'

"Ohio has hundreds of school districts, several regional education support organizations, many local and state school boards, tens of thousands of homeschooling families—and one especially supercilious public school superintendent," the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) notes in a recent dispatch.
David Hile, who heads the Licking Valley Local School District, wrote HSLDA recently to say he did not appreciate our request that he limit his oversight of homeschooling students to what the law permits. 
“It is my responsibility under the law,” he insisted, “to ensure that children in my district are receiving an adequate education [and] I take that responsibility very seriously, whether those children are in our schools or homeschooled. I will continue to question parents as I see fit.” 
This exchange, ironically, arose from Hile’s excessive inquisitiveness regarding a homeschooled student’s test score. The student had scored in the 30th percentile on a standardized test taken to fulfill end-of-year assessment requirements. Hile felt the score was too low and asked to see the student’s subtest scores. 
At that point the student’s mother contacted HSLDA. 
Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly, who assists members in Ohio, wrote to Hile, explaining that his request went beyond what he was entitled to ask for by law. Donnelly cited the Ohio Administrative Code, which says, “Any child that has a composite score at or above the twenty-fifth percentile shall be deemed to be performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.” 
Though our member’s issue was resolved soon afterward, Hile still saw fit to fire off his bristling reply. His response further demonstrated a lack of understanding regarding how to interpret a nationally norm-referenced assessment as well as a disconcerting attitude with respect to who is responsible for the education of the child. Hile wrote that he considered a child who scored in the 30th percentile on a standardized test “2–3 years below grade level (as 50th percentile is on grade level on NNRA).” 
As a professional educator, Hile should know percentile scores on a norm-referenced assessment that is standardized nationally, as required by Ohio regulations, reflect how many students performed at or above that level—not what grade level the child is. Perhaps Hile is thinking of the state public tests, which are criterion-referenced rather than nationally normed standardized achievement tests, and which simply show how a child scores compared to others on the same test. A score of the 30th percentile simply means that 30% of the students scored below a particular result on that test. 
“Hile’s response was an over-the-top and overbearing reaction to a simple point of clarification,” Donnelly said. “His attitude reflects an arrogance that implies homeschoolers are not up to the task of educating their children. The facts show that the reverse is true, and I will happily defend our members when they encounter problems with similar public school officials.” 
He added: “Superintendent Hiles’ unnecessarily bristling response to my short letter shows why homeschooling families need HSLDA—who wants to have to deal with someone like this?”

Audit shows financial mismanagement in Crooked Oak school district

"State inspectors found tens of thousands of dollars in financial mismanagement at a small local school district," KFOR reports. Among State Auditor Gary Jones's findings:
  • A district support employee was paid more than $105,000 over three fiscal years—about $60,000 more than authorized—documented on false time sheets.
  • Superintendent Bradley Richards received an increase of more than $19,000 and $600 stipends that were not outlined in his contract.
  • The superintendent incurred a $25,500 debt against the district that the board did not approve.
  • The Clerk destroyed credit card statements and logs, which were essential to documenting expenditure activity.
  • The district provided a school board member with cell phone service for 18 months after the individual stopped serving on the board.
  • The district paid $2,513 for a phone that was not used.
  • The district sold surplus property, without approval from the school board, and did not maintain records.
UPDATE: The Oklahoman has more details and an excellent house editorial.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Arrest warrant issued for former Oklahoma teacher

FOX 25 has the story.

School choice makes teachers free to teach

"Our whole education system is designed to treat teachers like factory line workers, not responsible professionals," Greg Forster writes in Perspective. "School choice breaks the government monopoly by putting parents in charge—getting politicians out of the classroom."

'Oklahoma is something of a hotbed of teacher-sex stories'

More national attention, this time from The Daily Caller.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oklahoma Library Association pushing transgender propaganda at 10-year-old students

From Trent England's weekly recap:
The Oklahoma Library Association is pushing transgender propaganda at 10-year-old students, and The Trent England Show is the only media talking about it. 
A school administrator admitted to me this is in most public schools, but says he’s “not sure” whether it is appropriate. He tells me he needs more information.... 
School choice is the only strategic defense against social engineering in public schools. And you know what? It’s not because many people would leave the schools. It’s about power—the power to make a choice would put parents in charge instead of politicians and other elites.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Public schools accept everyone?

Some folks in the public education community are fond of asserting that public schools have to take all comers. Writing in the Journal of School Choice ("Homeschooling, Virtual Learning, and the Eroding Public/Private Binary"), Aaron Saiger reminds us that this is not true. Mr. Saiger—formerly a law clerk for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now a law professor at Fordham University—writes:
In the context of bricks-and-mortar education, districts, especially affluent ones like Fairfax [Virginia], have mightily resisted admitting or registering students from out of district. Options for interdistrict transfers that have been a part of education reform packages have generally withered. Such programs generally provide that receiving, wealthy districts must certify that there is space for additional students; and such districts rarely do so.

This has been the case, for example, in the Cleveland school voucher program. This program permitted parents of Cleveland public school children to receive vouchers for use outside the district. That program, and the Supreme Court case upholding it, was famous because it allowed the vouchers to be used at private religious schools [Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. 536 U.S. 639 (2002).]. But the voucher law also provided that vouchers could be cashed at public schools in neighboring, whiter, wealthier districts. This part of the program was not famous. This is because no vouchers moved across district lines. Receiving districts had to agree to accept the vouchers, and none would.

Similarly, until a legislative reauthorization in late 2015, the federal No Child Left Behind Act provided that children in what the Act called “failing” schools be permitted to transfer to other, more effective school districts. Again, this required that nonfailing districts accept such students. Unsurprisingly, almost none were willing. Most cited space constraints [Aikens, A. (2005). "Being choosy: An analysis of public school choice under No Child Left Behind." West Virginia Law Review, 108, 233.]. It should surprise no one that interdistrict transfer was the least utilized plank of the Act.

A century of miseducation of America's teachers

"For the sake of our children," writes Robert W. Sweet, Jr., "let’s not let another year go by without applying to reading instruction what common sense and years of research tell us."