Couple of things lurking in the background now emerging as issues.
Prince George’s County in Maryland wants to capture some of the value of teacher created work and student created work done with school supported tools. I noted in a TIME column last year that there is some case law on who owns intellectual property created by teachers as part of their job – though the issue is far from settled. But the Prince Georges’s policy is the most far-reaching I’ve heard of. Evolving issue but one with big implications for the new teacher sharing sites that are springing up.
Virginia is again considering a “Tebow law” to allow home-schooled students to play high school sports. The Washington Post takes a look at the issue and one kid caught in the middle. I did the same in TIME last year and took a look at the national landscape on this, also evolving, issue. It’s a frustrating issue because – on both sides – it’s a classic adult interest not kids’ interest issue. Many in the public school establishment loathe home-schoolers and many in the home-school world want nothing to do with public schools. In fact, there are separate home school athletic leagues now. High school athletic associations are right that the minimal grade point average and residency requirements do matter to the integrity of high school sports. But that points to an obvious compromise rather than a roadblock: Let home-schooled students who agree to take the state’s assessments and are at grade-level play. Many, though not all, home-school parents I talked to while working on this column about the debate in Virginia were amenable to that (and some coaches, especially in less densely populated areas, while hesitant about speaking up, like the idea of having more students to choose from for varsity squads).
More generally, listening to the rhetoric about this issue you hear things like, ‘we can’t just let our schools become a la carte’ for families.’ But why not? It seems a great way to broaden support for public education and publicly provided goods – and it is good for kids. Besides, in Virginia and many states home-school students can take classes and join clubs now so it already is a la carte. In Virgina it’s at the school district’s discretion. It’s only sports where this has emerged as a flashpoint. That ought to tell us something.
Elsewhere, in The New York Times Magazine Michelle Rhee answers questions. And in Louisiana the state is seeking to expedite the process to create more quality charter schools to serve students stuck in persistently under-performing schools – RFA through this link. (In 2011 Bellwether helped the state review its charter policies and benchmark against best-practices for quality.)