Am I a geek or a nerd?


Several Ed Related Points
January 11, 2010, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Geek | Tags: ,

I’ve got a big bag of education stuff today:

  • Elected officials in Michigan have done an outstanding job of distracting the public’s attention away from school funding problems and towards Race To The Top. The very real financial crisis our schools face related to an unsustainable school funding system that badly needs reform. Rather than attend to this very pressing concern (proof that its pressing: at least one of my districts is trying to sell themselves, literally, to another district because they can’t afford to be a school district!!) the legislature is passing all kinds of laws designed to qualify us for Race To The Top funds. I’m not saying that we should try to get that money, but its a one time payment that for many districts only gains them a few dollars per student. Oakland county did some calculations and figured out that the best any of their districts would get from RT3 is $40,000. Hardly enough to fund real change.  The other real concern is that the laws passed to try to qualify Michigan will become unfunded mandates-and when districts are already strapped because the funding mechanism isn’t working RT3 becomes a very unpopular move among school leaders.

 

  • The lack of public understanding about funding and schools is leading districts to act in ways that may not benefit them. Currently, schools are being asked to sign Memorandums of Understanding with the state government expressing their support and involvement in RT3. Many districts don’t want to sign (see above, re. unfunded mandates) but feel community pressure to do so. The same idea holds true with Title I and II monies. Many parents don’t understand that those dollars are targeted and can only be spent on certain things like PD–they can’t be the light bill or put gas in teh busses with that money. So you have districts that must cut costs and are still able to provide PD. It looks fishy until you understand school budgets. The same holds true for textbook money allocation, capital improvement dollars and grant funding programs. They money can’t be moved to pay for something else.

 

  • This one I love. The state, again in efforts to get Rt3 money, have created a teacher supply hotline. Its not what you think. Under this legislation, teachers will be required to have all the supplies on a list created by MDE. If a teacher doesn’t have them they can complain to their district. If the district does not handle the complaint within three days, the teacher can call a hotline to report this. The state will then provide the supplies to the teacher and bill the district. There are so many things that are laughable here; which of the 10 MDE employees will attend to this hotline, who will make the supply lists, how will the state get blood from a stone?

 

  • And always a favorite with me: data. MEAP data by student is available now on the secure state site. Except not really. Because they company doing the scoring failed to scan all the documents, so many students are missing. There is no data by school, by CE, by strand. There are no released items. I’m glad teachers can quickly and easily determine where their students are lacking so they their needs can be addressed…

 

In non-rant news I’m beginning to plan summer PD, still trying to re-think 6/7 grade, and looking at finalizing the topics for Macomb County Close Up.

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