Monday, September 15, 2014

Politics creates McCleary vs Reason

The McCleary decision in Washington State just shows how politics can ruin what aught to be a perfectly reasonable discussion.  The Washington State Supreme Court ruled through McCleary that the state was not upholding the "paramount" duty of the state of providing education of all children within the state's borders.  However, politics has not turned this into a discussion of what new spending can be made for education.  The recent decision of the WA Supreme Court to hold the legislature in contempt just adds fuel to the political fire and doesn't lead us to a resolution.

The real issue here seems to be making sure that we are educating the children and not on spending.  I was recently talking to a 7th grader about her classes.  She had been in Movie Making but decided that this class wasn't as interesting as she thought it would be, so she changed classes.  Another student (a junior) had been enrolled in "Yoga and Walking" class for a semester but was going to drop that class in favor of study hall.  Recently, the school session had been extended about a week because of snow, but instead of extending the educating of the students, the last week was spend watching movies in all the classes as the final exams all occurred when they had originally been scheduled.

While Yoga and Movie Making might be enjoyable, and in some cases, educational, shouldn't classes like this be extracurricular, club, or hobby type classes and not take up valuable school time.  In an unrelated topic, Washington State high school graduates are taking remedial math and English when starting both four and two-year colleges.  Since more than 50% of students entering Community College and 33% entering four-year colleges are taking a remedial class of some sort, maybe we should stop with the Movie Making and actually teach the real basics (reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.).

Soon after the initial McCleary decision, I heard people lobbying the legislature for increasing the pre-K (0-3) classes.  Further, more classes like Movie Making have been proposed.  Once again, let's throw money at the problem and not address the real problem.  Democrats took the opportunity to continue their need for additional taxes, while still attacking the Charter School effort in the state.

One interesting side effect of Obama Care may not have been factored into this discussion yet.  With Obama Care, we've effectively ruled that people are children until they are 26 years old.  Current discussions regarding McCleary have only reached up to high school.  So keep an eye out for Washington State deciding that we have to fully fund PhD candidates now in order to fully fund education.

No comments:

Post a Comment