More thoughts about school funding

Our post Paying for our schools–competition saw some diverse comments the other day.

One point that was raised was that our local school boards are self governing.

I may be under a mistaken impression in that I believe that the curriculum and testing regimens are dictated by the state and that locally we have no choice but to do what they say.

I hope that one of our readers can fill us in on this issue.

If it turns out that we have little control locally when it comes to curriculum then I ask the question again.  Wouldn’t we be better off if we determined what and how to teach on a local level?  Would that not create a situation where homeowners decided which school district to live in (and pay taxes in) based upon their individual perception of the quality and value of the education being offered?

Another comment suggested that with local control we might have to give up the state and feral funding that we now receive.  The state and national governments get their money from us.  If they stopped taking it from us we would not have to depend upon them to “give” us own money back through funding.

Let’s keep up the discussion.

We deserve better

Brutus

One Response to More thoughts about school funding

  1. Deputy Dawg says:

    Brutus,
    In Texas, the Curriculum for all courses in K12 education are the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS. These are the standards that all school children must learn in a particular class. (In most of the rest of the country, it is called the Common Core.)
    Lets look at something very generic like Multiplication tables. The TEKS, or curriculum, might say something like “All 3rd graders must master the multiplication tables from 1-9 by the end of the 3rd grade.”

    How a district chooses to teach the multiplication tables is 100% up to the district. That is usually addressed in lesson plans that individual districts create. Then, individual teachers can modify those lesson plans further to meet the needs of their classrooms, their teaching styles, etc.

    Nutshell: A district has no control over the curriculum or standards, but has complete control over how it is taught.

    That is why you will see districts will all kinds of magnet and speciality schools. For instance, in EPISD, they have opened two New Tech High Schools at Franklin and Irvin, which teach using a Project Based Learning approach. YISD recently opened an all girls academy. There is the Silva Health Magnet School that has been around for quite a while. All of those must teach the TEKS, but the approach they take is different.

    All districts DO control how the curriculum is taught. They have 100% control over this. That is why they all can have different text books for instance in the same course. The Biology text in Canutillo is not the same as in Ysleta or San Eli.

    EPISD, YISD and others are all open enrollment school districts, so parents do have a choice of where to send their children. They do not have a choice of where to send their tax dollars because again, all locally funded entities rely on property taxes based on where you live. That is controlled by the state constitution, not by anything locally.

    As for not taking federal or state funding, that would be a terribly foolish move, since the AMOUNT received is far greater than the amount paid in. In many cases, the federal funding goes to pay for what is called title funds which pay for programs for special needs students, gifted students, low income students, and others. That funding is far and above what any local district could afford.

    Again, i encourage you to read Diane Ravitch’s books. They are excellent primers on school funding, reform, and how the move to “privatize” schools is a bad idea.

    Like

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