Behold the Wonders of Compulsory State-Run Education

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on March 8, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

Latest in the saga called California Public Schools are a Wacked-Out Mess: the schools lose money when kids are absent.

In California, under a formula that dates to the 1930s, how much a school receives in tax dollars is based on how many students are in class on any given day.

“Elective absences,” or days missed for reasons other than illness, cost the Scotts Valley district $223,000 during the 2005-06 school year, according to the school system. On average, it says, a Scotts Valley child misses 2.3 days because of elective absences.

Whatever other ills are coming down on the schools, whether brought by teachers’ unions or illegals whose fair share isn’t being paid or just the general woes of your average state-run operation, that is a perfectly ridiculous formula that should be repealed. Schools cost a constant amount to operate, not less when six kids happen to be absent. And while the formula may incentivize the schools to annoy parents who take their kids out for trips, it does nothing to incentivize parents not to take kids out, though as the article says some parents are ponying up the lost cash.

The flabbergasting aspect of that story is not that the schools are asking the parents to cover the lost money. It’s that the schools are losing the money to begin with. Shut that all the way down, California. It’s not your business to tell parents when they can and can’t take their children out of school, and if it were, there’s no incentive in the way you’re trying to do it now.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace