Archive for Sunday, April 2, 2006

All-day kindergarten may be in jeopardy

April 2, 2006

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— By failing to adopt a school finance plan before adjourning, the Kansas Legislature may have jeopardized Lawrence efforts to implement full-day kindergarten this fall.

"I'll hang on as long as I can, but it doesn't look good," Lawrence school Supt. Randy Weseman said.

"We have to order a lot of materials by the end of April. That's really putting the squeeze on that," he said.

Lawmakers ended their regular session on Friday, but will return for the wrap-up session on April 26 to tackle school finance again.

But even if they reach agreement quickly in the wrap-up session, any plan will have to pass the scrutiny of the Kansas Supreme Court.

The court has ordered increased school funding in compliance with a cost study that says more monies are needed to help students in low-income areas.

In the House, Democrats and a group of Republicans who rebelled against their leaders have approved a three-year $633 million increase for schools, which would have covered the costs of all-day kindergarten.

Alan Rupe, an attorney for the plaintiff school districts, said he was "encouraged" by the House plan.

"In terms of how we're analyzing what is done, the House plan would have been a really good faith effort that we would've evaluated," Rupe said.

But that proposal was rejected in the Senate.

The closest plan to gain approval in the Senate was one by Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia. It failed on a 20-20 tie vote.

Barnett's bill would increase school funding $495 million over four years. He criticized more expensive plans, saying they would require tax increases.

But Rupe said Barnett's proposal is "woefully inadequate.

"It's almost as if some in the Legislature, their strategy is to do nothing so they can create a crisis and argue that the courts' powers should be taken away," he said.

Comments

Godot 9 years ago

I am offended by any plan that assumes children are less able to learn, and parents are less attentive, just because they are poor.

Jamesaust 9 years ago

Godot - educational achievement is highly correlated with measures of socioeconomic status, which is traditionally measured by: father's education, father's occupation, mother's education. In turn, these factors are significantly correlated to household income.

The plan does not assume any child is less able to learn because her family is poor. It does assume that poor children as a group are less likely in fact to have learned all other things equal. And it assumes this because it is predictably true that for poor children all other things are rarely equal and are unequal in their disfavor.

short_one 9 years ago

Godot, Get real. Like Jamesaust wrote, academic achievement (completely different from academic ability) is highly tied to a family's socioeconomic situation. I could go into a whole mess about Maslow's heirarchy of needs but basically, many (not all) poor families often simply do not have the time or the resources & skills to either work with their children on homework or pay for extra tutoring. That is why there are ALREADY special programs in the low income schools to give these kids the extra help they need, especially in reading or math. These aren't "dumbed down" programs because someoen thinks they CAN'T learn; they are remedial programs to help these kids get up to speed so they can learn more.

lunacydetector 9 years ago

will the schools EVER have enough money? they seem to gripe all the time. why won't school vouchers work in kansas? i'd love to see kids going to private schools - $8,000 - $9,000 per child sure would go a long way (isn't this what the state allocates for children in public schools per year?). there sure are a helluva lot of perverted public school teachers out there.....sure would be nice to send kids to a private school with good teachers who get screened to make sure they aren't sexual deviants or just plain weirdos like in the public schools.

short_one 9 years ago

lunacydetector, I can think 2 "loonies" involved (perhaps not teaching but administrators or board members" in private schools that have caused trouble lately: the parent who put mercury in his child's pinewood derby car, Mr. Martin who killed his wife. I would guess there are others that I have missed or perhaps don't get top billing on news since they are part of USD 497. There may be a few bad apples in all public schools also but it is hardly an epidemic. Schools are not where kids face most of their dangers from adults. Also, it would be a dream if the state would give publics schools $8000-$9000 per kid. Not even close--try somewhere around $4000-and it hasn't gone up much in the last 10 years. Private schools can educate kids for fewer dollars than some public schools because they don't have to keep the behavior problems and the learning problems; they don't need all the social workers (if you think public schools don't need social workers, spend one day in a low income school with a high number of non-trad and single-parent families); they don't have to mainstream everyone. Private schools can and do "pick and choose" who they want or are able to choose. Public schools take everyone.

lunacydetector 9 years ago

actually, short_one, your price per child figure is way too low AND the public school teachers who have taken advantage of children they teach IS an epidemic. just google search: teacher abuses student

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=teacher+abuses+student

as you see you get 17,800,000 results - i'm not saying every one of the results is a different story or article, but it shows there are a lot of things going on with some teachers and our children.

in the year 2002-03, kansas spent $7,292 per child on education. with the recent increase by the judges, it goes up to what?

short_one 9 years ago

lunacydetector, My figure of $3000-$4000 is based on what the State of Kansas actually gives to each district per FTE. I agree that abuse is a problem but am rejecting the premise that it is ONLY present in public school situations.

wonderhorse 9 years ago

Had a dog in this fight several years ago. K kids don't have enough attention span to last a whole day. My 2 lasted 1/2 a day and were stressed, and they had one of the greatest K teachers ever (thank you, Val Howland).

9 years ago

Wonderhorse:

All-day kindergarten isn't about the kids, it's about the parents.

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