While over picking some Fruit in Season, I saw this item out of Scotts Valley, California:
Tired of parents pulling their kids out of school for a ski trip or a visit to Disneyland, one local school system is billing them for the missed class time at $36.13 per day.
That is how much the Scotts Valley district calculates it loses under a state formula that doles out school funding according to daily attendance.
No, so far they're not making it mandatory and say they have no plans to force payment, but they're billing nonetheless, and I predict that when the outrage dies down, there will be districts not just in California but in Texas and New York and Florida billing parents for the days their kids are absent without a doctor's note.It's been a while, but I did have kids in public schools, in Hawaii, California, and Virginia, and I know that these concerns, if not these solutions, are nothing new:
In California, under a formula that dates to the 1930s, how much a school receives in tax dollars is based on how many students are in class on any given day.
A little anecdote from my own archives. When our kids were in public elementary school in Virginia, the year before we took them out, we were having a lot of trouble doing anything as a family. The Papa was working at the Pentagon, and every time he had a government holiday, the girls didn't. When they were out, he wasn't. So one day we decided to take them out of school for a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, a field trip that I thought was more than worthy of an educational day together.
We thought it courteous to inform the principal, who was a wonderful man and a personal friend. His response? "Well, I'd appreciate it very much if you'd just bring them in first thing in the morning and let them stay for two hours. That way we'll get credit for the whole day and won't lose any money."
I guess I was too young and naive. I was stunned. No mention of the work they'd miss and how they could make it up, no wishing us a nice day together, no comment on what a wonderful experience Williamsburg is for kids. Just concern about how much money he stood to lose for two girls being out for one day.
I know that educators don't start out their careers thinking they'll end up looking at the dollar signs instead of the phonics blends. It makes me sad for the great teachers who teach because they love children and want to help them have successful lives. Unfortunately, a few years in government bureaucracy can make things look different. It can turn kids into commodities to be traded like currency, and teachers left at the mercy of spreadsheets and bottom lines.
And asking parents to pay up for a day off when they've already paid with their taxes and fees and fundraising efforts? Ooooh...don't make Granny come over to that school.