Friday, 30 June 2017
The state Department of Education ( Louisiana) cited Sophie B. Wright Charter School for keeping two homeless students out of class for a month because they didn’t have school uniforms.
The agency informed the Uptown charter school in May that it had violated the terms of its charter agreement by failing to follow a federal law that requires schools to change policies that impede homeless students from learning or attending school.
The mother of the two students contacted the Recovery School District on Feb. 8. She said her children were prevented from starting school at Wright because they didn’t have uniforms.
The Recovery School District oversees the school, which serves grades 7 through 12.
Education department employees told school staff twice that the children were considered homeless and the school should accommodate them. On Feb. 16, an education department staffer told the school to provide the children with uniforms, using federal funds dedicated for homeless students.
Yet, the children “were told on at least one occasion by Wright staff that they could not attend school until the uniforms were monogrammed,” Laura Hawkins, deputy chief of staff for the Recovery School District, wrote in a letter to the school.
Monogramming costs $5 at the school.
The children were kept out of class until March 8, Hawkins wrote.
“Sophie B. Wright did not intentionally keep any student out of school,” Principal Sharon Clark told The Lens in an email Tuesday. “It has never been our intention to ever keep a student from attending school.”
James Kelly, executive director of Covenant House, which provides emergency shelter and transitional housing for the homeless, was taken aback when told what happened.
“Why would we focus on whether or not they had a uniform?” Kelly asked. “Isn’t that simply just ostracizing them? Isn’t that just creating more trauma for them?”
Kelly said he wasn’t sure if this has happened before in the city.
“A school should be bending over backwards” to help homeless children, he said. “Society should be wrapping their arms around them.”
According to the Data Center, there were 137 homeless children in the New Orleans area in 2015. In 2014, there were 220.
All Recovery School District charters operate under its Charter School Performance Compact. A notice of breach, such as the one issued to Wright, is the second of three levels of intervention.
To return to good standing, the school had to provide the students with the opportunity for make-up work or tutoring this summer or at the beginning of next school year.
The state also required Wright to amend its uniform policy to clarify that assistance can be offered to homeless families, and to post the update on its website.
Hawkins said the school has completed both and it’s now in good standing.
However, the uniform policy page on the school website doesn’t say anything about homeless students.
And as of Wednesday morning, the 2016-17 handbook had not been updated either. It referred to the federal law on homeless students and said, “Should you have questions concerning your specific rights under this provision, please contact the Guidance Counselor.”
Wednesday afternoon, the school added this sentence: “Students who are classified as homeless are exempt from following the uniform policy and must be admitted to school immediately.”
The far right ( IPA) would love to see US style Charter schools and U.K. style Grammar schools here in Australia.
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington bear, has died at home at 91 following a short illness, it was announced today.
The author lived in the Little Venice area of West London, near Paddington train station which inspired his famous character, with his 74-year-old wife Sue.
The writer became a beloved giant of children's literature after his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958 about the bear from Peru who wears a blue coat and loves marmalade.
English author Bond wrote 150 books in total, with 25 additional books about Paddington following his first effort.
Speaking in April, he said: 'Paddington sees things very straight and very simply. If you think about how he would react, it's probably the right way.'
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Monday, 26 June 2017
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Saturday, 24 June 2017
" The Commonwealth government has confirmed it will renege on its commitment to the final years of the Gonski agreement. This leaves Victorian students almost $1 billion worse off in 2018 and 2019 than was previously promised under Gonski. This disproportionately impacts our students who need it the most. This decision means that the Commonwealth cannot be counted on to pull its weight and share our ambitious agenda. In light of this, Victoria will need to rethink our approach to school funding."
James Merlino: Response to the Bracks Review into Government School Funding, September 2016
The passage of Gonski 2.0 poses a significant challenge for state and territory governments. It was formulated without consultation and places a significant financial burden upon the states who must now find the money to lift public schools much closer to the agreed resourcing standard. While the commonwealth has no constitutional authority over schools, federal funding of schools has been a feature of our educational landscape for the last four decades. As education funding has ramped up over the last 15 years, with most of the increase going to non government schools, the commonwealth has assumed the role of prime funder for non government schools. Under Gonski there was to be a pooling of funds and a pooling of effort to address need wherever it lay. There was also a discussion running through a 'reform of the federation' paper about the roles the commonwealth and states might play in terms of school policy and funding. That consultation was stopped short by the Abbott government and now the unilateral decision of the Turnbull government has sharply redefined federal-state relations and funding. Under Gonski 2.0 the commonwealth will fund 80% of the SRS in non government schools and just 20% of the SRS in public schools. The states will pick up the balance.
This is a particular problem for Victoria, which funds its public schools at a lower level than other states and territories and has enshrined in legislation a commitment to provide non government schools with 25% of the funding it gives to public schools. That 25% is not needs based and may not be sustainable in the light of the increased demand that is going to be placed on the state as a result of the commonwealth's Gonski 2.0 plan. There seems to be some sort of mechanism to require states to pay their share and if that is the case Minister Merlino has an awkward time on his hands. If, as the quote above suggests, he will rethink education funding then it may come down to a choice between denying public schools the funding the commonwealth is keeping from them or retaining the 25% and as a consequence overfunding non government schools. In a year when a new EBA has been negotiated that might not be an easy sell to treasury or the minister's colleagues.
The other slight area of concern for the minister will be maintaining the state's commitment to increased equity funding for schools which is over and above the SRS funding. Would this be under threat if the state has to find additional schools funding from somewhere to meet the commonwealth's demands?
Minister Birmingham's claim is that "The funding wars should now be over." That's doubtful but once the dust settles federal Labor will have to decide what course of action it will take if and when it assumes government. It'd be impossible for them to return to the original Gonski deals and funding arrangements. More likely they'd look at altering the 80/20 arrangement, possibly by seeking to meet more than 20% of the need in public schools. Whether they maintain their interest in the needs of Catholic schools will be an interesting question - they might do so for political reasons but probably not on the basis of logic or need. Once established the independent resourcing body would surely be providing advice to government about such matters.
So the question for the Victorian education minister is what does this 'rethinking' of school funding look like?