The following article is about Washington State’s efforts in the Yakima school district to reduce the number of “dropouts.”
New programs give Yakima students more options, 13 August 2007, Yakima Herald, Yakima, Washington
The options are another attempt by district officials to recapture and retain students who would otherwise be counted as dropouts as the district tries to further decrease what was at one time the highest dropout rate in the state. In the past, the bulk of the district’s dropouts were through alternative programs. District efforts in recent years have brought those numbers down.
Does the Yakima school system consider any child a dropout if parents take the child out of the system? I thought being able to leave one school to attend another — even if it is an alternative school — is ‘school choice.’ Or does ‘choice’ mean being able to select only from among government-controlled programs?
Given that the Yakima district does not seem to think highly about anyone who drops out of their system, I looked around for statistics on the Yakima school district.
- Yakima School District 7, Standard and Poor’s Observations: “When compared to the state as a whole, the district produces well below average Reading and Math Proficiency (RaMP), with average core spending per student.”
- Standard and Poor’s Observations: “When [the] estimates are used to adjust the district’s core spending, the district’s RoSI becomes 7.3, which is well below the state average of 12.0. Return”
- Yakima School District 7, Overview: “Did this district make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2006? No”
So, the district’s test results are below those of much of the state, and their ‘rate of return’ on the money spent is also below the state average, but the district personnel want to “recapture and retain students.” I catch a whiff of ‘it’s all about the money’ marketing.
And just because the instruction is online, it does not mean it abandons all the tenets of a traditional classroom. Students will still use textbooks, which will have to be purchased by the district. The state will reimburse the school district about $4,500 for each full-time equivalent student enrolled.
But once a student from an outside district enrolls in the Yakima School District Virtual School, that student becomes the responsibility of the Yakima School District. That means the student will count toward the district’s enrollment numbers that, in turn, determine the amount of state funds the district receives.
Further along in the article, the writer leaves the realm of marketing for the land of fiction.
That same thread flows through the district’s new home-school option, which provides detailed lesson plans designed for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The home school will be run by the Calvert School, which is based in Baltimore. …
“This is another option for families,” [Jack Irion, deputy superintendent with Yakima schools] said.
Homeschooling is, indeed, another schooling option in Washington, but a Calvert program provided by the school system is not homeschooling.
- Washington Homeschool Organization: “If your children are enrolled full time in a public school alternative education program, cyber school, parent partnered program or other public school “homeschool” program, your children are public school students and are required to take the WASL.”
A deputy superintendent in the school system should be aware of the differences between homeschooling and public school at home.
posted by Valerie