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May 23, 2010


John Briscoe responds to my call for him to propose that his school board & district be disbanded & the funds placed in a trust that will pay for approved instructional services as directed by parents of kids living in the district boundaries.

Interesting idea.
But gotta have HEADS enrolled to count 'em.
No heads = no income.
This idea has merit for a "basic aid" school district, but not ours.
And State of CA Constitution guarantees a free public education.
Would need change at highest level.
Thanks for your interest.  I know you lived the 'public school dream' with your install work.

Thanks, John, will do. I was also a full time public school employee for 6 months at Capo USD in 1998, and sat on the executive board working for Dr. Fleming. I know all the inside dirt about public instruction as committed by California.

But I'm not letting you off that easy.

Head count = legal resident in district boundaries, school age child, annually assessed, just like home schooled. In effect, all kids should be funded & assessed equally, regardless of which instructional process their parents select - traditional, home school, small group, on-line, etc. We just did a census, we know the number pretty closely, makes budgeting as simple as # of school-age kids x $ amount per kid. Why do we need a district & a board to figure that out?

All kids will still get a free public education per the constitution. What is the current definition of a free publicly funded education? It should be defined by the dollar amount available to each student to fund instructional activities and ongoing assessment as directed by their parents to master the subject matter and skills defined by the curriculum.

We've known for a hundred years what kids are supposed to learn by any particular age. Some learn faster than others. As soon as you master a subject you move on, regardless of age. If you need to take longer, you do, if you don't, you don't (this approach is known by the derogatory term "tracking" - teacher unions hate it.)

The state should pay only for educational achievement, not for gold-plated warehouses full of kids herded around by political advocates who fudge the grades & tests to meet political metrics. I don't care how other kids are doing. I care how my kids are doing, as measured against long-established metrics of achievement.

Free education does not have to mean free day care. It does not have to be brick & mortar, 650 students & 35 staff performing 6 periods a day of failing curriculum. We can eliminate the huge bulk of state-paid overhead - facilities, transportation, food service and especially the bureaucrats & politicians that incur costs due to reports, lawsuits, other non-instructional activities.

Parents can choose to educate their kids this "traditional" way (and in districts like Los Al, they probably would), but if it costs more to do it this way than the state will pay, then the parents, either out of pocket or through charities & foundations, pay the difference. You want your kids in sports, arts, music, Scouts, etc, it's on your nickel. Why are we supporting high school sports teams when only a small fraction of the kids participate? Because it's popular? Sheesh.

The initiative to change has to start somewhere, might as well be with you. Use the arrogant ass Supt mentioned in the Register story as the embodiment of why the reform is essential - remove politicians, unions and non-instructional employees from the process, and pay for only the qualified instructional products & services that produce the results that state taxpayers want, as directed by parents. The idea that a school board  is valuable is ludicrous. It is entirely superfluous to the core activity it purports to enable & support - students learning.

Go for it, John. Make it happen. This is the year to do it, believe me.

Posted by: JBD at 04:36 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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