Too many mandates, too little funding
Bucks County Courier Times Editorial Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2016 12:15 am
It's easy to write the rules. Playing by them is another story.
For school districts trying to comply with the many rules issued by state lawmakers over many years, the task is both difficult and expensive. Very expensive. And that expense has to be borne by somebody. Surely it comes as no surprise that the somebody is you ... and every other taxpaying citizen of Pennsylvania. The rules we refer to are known mockingly in public school circles as "unfunded mandates." In other words, most anything the state tells school districts they must do but provides no funding to help districts get done. This could be anything from collecting data on students' race and ethnicity, to conducting audits, to transporting charter school kids. They are but a few on a huge list of rules and regulations that public school officials must abide by and school boards must pay for. In fact, school boards now are in the process of trying to figure out how to pay for all those mandates while also dedicating money to their primary responsibility: educating students. The school district budget process is in full swing and must be completed by the end of the month. So it's a good time to speak to the issue of burdensome expenses. To that end, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) last week released a report on the issue. "School District Mandates: Their Impact on Public Education" calls on the Legislature to lift unnecessary, cumbersome mandates and in some cases allow districts to apply for waivers.
Curmuducation Blog by Peter Greene Saturday, June 25, 2016
A Gallup poll taken early this year about what issues are most important to Americans found that 90 percent of Democrats view education as important while 67 percent of Republicans do. Yet education was barely raised by candidates running for the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates — and there’s no indication that it will be a big issue in the expected match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the fall. Now public school advocates opposed to corporate school reform are trying to get the attention of Democrats and Republicans, asking that both parties include five key principles in their party platforms that will be approved by their respective conventions this summer. If either party listens, it is more likely to be the Democrats, who traditionally are strong supporters of public education — even though the Obama administration embraced many aspects of the reform movement.