1.04.2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Kentucky Legislation Now In Session

Kentucky Legislation now in session...

did you know that BR 140 - Senator Joey Pendleton (12/14/10) has a prefiled bill: AN ACT relating to the school calendar. Amend KRS 158.070 to prohibit a school district from establishing the first instructional day in a school term before the third Monday in August; allow a district to request a waiver to begin the instructional year prior to the third Monday in August.
I'm not speaking for/against...just important to be aware that legislation such as this can impact families & school districts...

Here are two more

BR 10 - Representative Linda Belcher (06/11/10) AN ACT relating to tuition for foster children. Amend KRS 164.2847 to permit tuition and fee waivers for foster children taking dual credit or dual enrollment courses in high school. (Prefiled by the sponsor(s).) To: Interim Joint Committee on Education
and this

BR 13 - Representative Linda Belcher (06/11/10) AN ACT relating to obesity in school children. Amend KRS 158.856 to clarify that school physical activity assessment tools shall generate: data on the amount of time and the types of activity required by KRS 160.345(11); performance and progress data necessary to monitor health risk behaviors and indicators identified by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to design programs to increase physical activity of children and reduce childhood diabetes and obesity; fitness information to assist students and the student's parents or guardians in planning home activities; and aggregate school fitness data to assist school councils in reviewing and implementing wellness policies; require school districts to submit supporting data with required summary; amend KRS 160.345 to require schools containing kindergarten through grade 5 to provide a minimum of 45 minutes per week of physical activity for half day kindergarten and 90 minutes per week for full day kindergarten through grade 5. (Prefiled by the sponsor(s).) To: Interim Joint Committee on Education


And of course, the one bill that makes the news...

BR 111 - Senator Dan "Malano" Seum, Senator David L. Williams, Senator Elizabeth Tori (08/25/10)
AN ACT relating to school attendance.
Amend KRS 159.070 to permit a parent or legal guardian to enroll for attendance a child in the school nearest to the child's home, except in cases in which there are academic or skill prerequisites for attendance in the school; provide that those residing the shortest travel distance to a school be given first priority in cases where the capacity of the school may be exceeded; permit a child to attend a school other than the one closest with permission of the district.
(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

This one takes away LOCAL CONTROL. Sure it sounds like local control when you write a law that says everyone gets to go to a school nearest a child's home, but it's not. I know so many parents are supportive of neighborhood schools, believing this will end busing in Louisville. But it won't. There is a law that if you live a mile or more away from your resides school you will ride the bus. That's us, and quite frankly most of us, who live in an urban and suburban environment. For some, even if they can walk to school, studies show that walkability is not a feasible option. No sidewalks, or damaged sidewalks. Abandoned houses. And when many parents speak about attending the school closest to their home, they mean a school that they will drive their child to. So how does that curb air polution? I also have heard time and time again, that neighborhood schools will mean increased parent participation and involvement. Really? Because the way that I currently see it, parents who WANT to be engaged with their child's school and education, ARE ENGAGED. They make a conscious effort to attend school related functions, other than sports related activities. They take time off from work to assist with a field trip or other academically related activity. Certainly proximity to a school is beneficial, but it is not the only factor that keeps parents involved or not involved. It is about priorities and choice. I know so many kids who are over scheduled, with both school and other events: soccer, dance, music, etc. Parents say all these extracurriculars are to benefit, or even sadly, to supplement their child's educational experience, as well as to benefit them later on for a high school or college application. Yet these same parents, even when they know their child's school is having a literacy or math night, are too "busy" to attend. I am a frequent volunteer at my son's elementary school. I probably spend as much time there during the week as he does. But if he wants to go back to school for a math night, we put it on the calendar and make it happen.

And furthermore, BR111 IS NOT FUNDED. This bill would cost more than $200 million to create six new schools. That is just to build the school. It doesn't include staffing, materials, etc. Without mandated funding that will mean a potential tax increase...again. In addition, boundaries for ALL schools, yes, including the much sought after TRADITIONAL schools, will have to be revised.

Potential impact of bill: Loss of parental choice, resegregation, higher taxes, and more law suits...quite possibly from parents who wanted neighborhood schools but weren't able to get into their closest school because it only had space for 550 kids and 700 kids applied. Who decides which kids qualify before another? Is is how long you have lived in the neighborhood? Is it because to be close you need to be 1 mile or closer to the school? 5 miles or closer? On the South side of the street or the North? Only children living in a home with an even numbered address?

I know that our school system is not perfect. Six more high schools audited this year due to failing AYP status. More turmoil ahead as we begin the search for a new Superintendent. New testing being implimented. More families facing homelessness and poverty.

But let's be honest. NO student assignment plan, including BR111, can provide all families in a district of 98,000 students with their first choice. It is up to parents to be involved in this discussion because, trust me, the conversation is taking place while you are out of the room. When you walk in, the topic will have been changed, and you'll be left feeling like you missed a very important moment that you cannot get back again.

In response to BR111...

BR 167 - Senator Tim Shaughnessy (09/29/10)
AN ACT relating to school districts.
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 159 to require the Commonwealth to provide state funds from the general fund to a local school district to offset the costs of implementing any changes to Kentucky Revised Statutes that result in mandated changes to the local district assignment plan; provide that this expenditure is the state's first priority over other financial obligations; require the Finance and Administration Cabinet to promulgate administrative regulations to outline the process and procedures to be used in requesting and paying the funds.
(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

or this one,

BR 136 - Senator John Schickel, Senator Damon Thayer (09/09/10) AN ACT relating to school funding. Amend KRS 157.310 to clarify the intention of the General Assembly that no mandate be placed on the public schools without program funding to carry out the mandate; require legislation relating to the public schools that includes a fiscal note pursuant to KRS 6.955 or a state mandate pursuant to 6.965 to include provision for funding that is adequate for compliance with the mandate; clarify that no school district shall be compelled to comply with mandated enactments of the General Assembly that do not provide adequate funding; specify that this amendment does not relieve a school district from the obligation to comply with state or federal laws relating to health, safety, or civil rights. (Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

I certainly like this one better, since so many laws regarding education are put in place WITHOUT FUNDING. Therefore even if the law is a good one and benefits our children, we may not see the benefits of it because there is no money to support the initiative.
So, while this is about the funding, we all know that APROPRIATIONS is where the buck stops, often times, literally.

But did you know all this was happening? For more about Kentucky Legislation, go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm

To learn more about the Kentucky PTA Legislative Platform and activities, go to www.kypta.org

Be engaged. Be involved. Be educated. Help in "making every child's potential a reality." And everytime you check out my facebook page, and click the "I like" button on a post I write about volunteering or advocacy, instead of just liking what I do, if you are in Louisville, please join me. Join me as I volunteer at the Clothing Assistance Program. The work we do there is so critical to the community, but the volunteers are woefully lacking. Join me as I call the LRS hotline to speak about important Legislation in Kentucky (Legislative Message Line 1-800-372-7181). Instead of just hearing my voice, they will hear yours, and know that we all are concerned, not just my telling them we are concerned. Join me in a conversation about the changing climate of education, not just in our Nation, but in Kentucky, as well as in Jefferson County. Join me on February 17, for Kentucky Kid's Day at the Capitol, and bring your child with you so they can learn why we do what we do for them, and better yet, give them an opportunity to speak for themselves and their peers.

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. ~Vince Lombardi

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent. ~John Donne

Contrary to popular belief, there most certainly is an "I" in "team." It is the same "I" that appears three times in "responsibility." ~Amber Harding

2 comments:

  1. I no longer have children in school,but I can certainly see your point. Parents have to get involved in their children's education. I am following your blog, you are welcome to follow mine as well. Blessings jane

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope such legislation will pave the way for more out-of-school youths to go back to school and get their acts together believing that there will be available community support and adequate government school funding.

    ReplyDelete