Sunday, 21 July 2019

Thin edge of the wedge!

Farming families call for a tax break to send their kids to boarding school  A push by the Pastoralists & Graziers Association of WA  for tax breaks for school boarding fees has sparked debate among country parents battling to meet rising costs. 
Maybe support local state schools instead!!!!

Saturday, 20 July 2019

40 large is too much! Bullshit!

Is a minimum salary of $40,000 too much to guarantee a teacher? The governor of Illinois believes so.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday vetoed legislation that would have raised the minimum salary for an Illinois teacher to $40,000 within five years, putting the re-election-seeking Republican at odds with teachers unions once again.

The bill approved by lawmakers in the spring would make the minimum teacher salary for next school year $32,076. The number would rise to $40,000 for the 2022-23 term and grow with the Consumer Price Index after that.

‘Teachers are our greatest asset in ensuring the future of our youth and they deserve to be well-compensated for their hard work,’ Rauner wrote in his veto message. ‘However, minimum pay legislation is neither the most efficient nor the most effective way to compensate our teachers.

‘Things like pay-for-performance, diversified pay for teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subjects, or pay incentives for teachers with prior work experience are all viable options to provide greater compensation for teachers,’ the governor wrote.

The Democrat who sponsored the salary bill said Sunday that he was “disappointed.”

‘Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,’ Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill said in a statement. ‘I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are too.'”

Americans love putting poor people in jail.

KINGSTON, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district is warning that children could end up in foster care if their parents do not pay overdue school lunch bills.

The letters sent recently to about 1,000 parents in Wyoming Valley West School District have led to complaints from parents and a stern rebuke from Luzerne County child welfare authorities.

The district says that it is trying to collect more than $20,000, and that other methods to get parents to pay have not been successful. Four parents owe at least $450 apiece.

The letter claims the unpaid bills could lead to dependency hearings and removal of their children for not providing them with food.

"You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child's right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care," the letter read.

After complaints, district officials announced they plan to send out a less threatening letter next week.

Luzerne County's manager and child welfare agency director have written the superintendent, insisting the district stop making what they call false claims.

Their letter calls the district's actions troubling and a misrepresentation of how the Children and Youth Services Department and its foster care program operate.

Wyoming Valley West's lawyer, Charles Coslett, said he did not consider the letters to be threatening.

"Hopefully, that gets their attention and it certainly did, didn't it? I mean, if you think about it, you're here this morning because some parents cried foul because he or she doesn't want to pay a debt attributed to feeding their kids. How shameful," Coslett told WYOU-TV.

The district's federal programs director, Joseph Muth, told WNEP-TV the district had considered serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to students with delinquent accounts, but received legal advice warning against it.

School district officials say they plan to pursue other legal avenues to get the lunch money, such as filing a district court complaint or placing liens on properties.

For the coming year, the district will qualify for funding to provide free lunches to all students.

The district underwrote free lunches for four elementary and middle schools during the 2018-19 year, and WNEP-TV said school officials suspect some parents did not pay their lunch bills as a form of protest.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Austerity and education in the U.K.

Ten years into austerity, schools have found countless ways to get by on squeezed budgets, from banning colour photocopies to making staff redundant. For years it has been a delicate balancing act what can we get rid of while minimising damage to our pupils? But there comes a point when there is nothing left to give.

Over 200 headteachers across the country are now turning to a new way to save money: reducing the length of the school week. Pupils are sent home at lunch time on Friday. In place of a five-day school week, there is a 4.5 one instead. 

Reducing the school week is set to save schools such as Bellfield Junior School in Birmingham around £50,000 a year. But what does a 4.5 day school week mean for pupils? And why are so many schools choosing to do it?

No headteacher would take the decision to reduce the school week lightly. If schools fulfil their purpose and enrich pupil’s lives, it is essential this service is not withdrawn – even partially. But, after years of real-terms funding cuts, many schools are finding it increasingly difficult to function. 

Ultimately, the decision to reduce the school week is a choice to prioritise the quality of children’s time children in school over the quantity of it. In an interview with the BBC, the Bellfield headteacher said “We are on absolute minimum staffing levels for the needs of our children.” Better to meet the needs of your pupils 4.5 days a week, than fall short for five. 

Yet it’s important not to romanticise the effect a shorter week will have during those 4.5 days. Many schools are making Monday-Thursday longer in order to partially compensate for leaving early on Friday – even though this can be highly counterproductive for younger children. Since pupils will still need to sit the same exams, the same curriculum will need to be squeezed into those 4.5 days – the usual pattern of arts and humanities being the first to go are likely to apply.

On Friday we had the arresting image of MP Jess Phillips' son doing his homework on the steps of No 10. But what will the Friday afternoon off actually mean for pupils? They can't all gather in Downing Street.

For an affluent middle-class family, it might become a slot for a music lesson or a game of tennis or even a session with a private tutor. Perhaps some parents will be able to afford the luxury of taking the afternoon off to spend quality time with their child. 

However, for the child of a single mum who is working overtime to make ends meet, the picture will be very different. It might also be different for any of the 4.5 million children growing up in poverty – for the families who can’t afford to heat their homes in winter let alone pay for them to do extracurricular activities.

In some parts of Texas they don't open on Mondays. 

Monday, 8 July 2019

Funding ugly

Skulduggery by the Morrison & Andrews Governments robs Victorian public schools of billions. Special deals in funding agreement defraud public schools so that they will be under-funded indefinitely while private schools will be fully funded by 2023.