Wednesday, January 04, 2012


San Francisco Business Times by Steven E.F. Brown, Web Editor |

Many California school districts are strapped for cash. Oakland once hoped to sell its crumbling headquarters building to raise money.

Many California school districts are strapped for cash. Oakland once hoped to sell its crumbling headquarters building to raise money. Photo: Steven E.F. Brown>>

Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 9:54am PST - Updated 11:15am PST  :: An initiative cleared for signature collection would change the way California school districts -- many of them strapped for cash -- count how many students attend class each day, by allowing online “attendance” as part of those numbers.

The initiative “Authorizes school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to claim average daily attendance funding for student participation in approved online courses,” according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

It needs 504,760 signatures by June 1 to make it onto the ballot.

Online courses would have to be taught, as classroom ones are, by teachers with credentials. But students in one district would be able to take online classes in any other district, which might make it easier for them to take what they need to apply to college.

The initiative cites a study from the University of California, Los Angeles, saying nearly 40 percent of students in the Golden State go to schools which don’t offer enough of the required courses for state university admission.

The state’s legislative analyst guesses local school districts could save a lot of money -- “hundreds of millions” per year in total -- if online teaching improved efficiency.

California, however, would likely have to shell out more money to school districts, as they are paid based on a head count of how many kids are in class each day. Boosting those numbers by counting online enrollment would change those payments, and the state might want to rejigger the system.

The initiative is named “The California Student Bill of Rights Act, Statutory Amendment,” No. 11-062.

Read the full text of the proposed initiative  following

●●smf’s 2¢:  Before you go rushing off to sign petitions, please take these two points into consideration:

  • Previous misbehavior by the Forces of ®eform in online learning:
Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools - New York Times

    Dec 12, 2011 – A look at the largest online school company's operations raises serious questions about whether its schools — and full-time online schools in ..

Schools Matter: The Horror of Agora, and Other Online Charter Scams

    Dec 14, 2011 – Despite lower operating costs, the online companies collect nearly as much taxpayer money in some states as brick-and-mortar charter schools ...

Problems with Charter Schools

    Description of the way the public has been deceived about charter schools. ... "online" cyber charters having no visible physical boundaries or school buildings. ... not only with hundreds of fraudulent, marginal, and inept schools, but also in loss ...

  • The blatant misrepresentation and mistitling of this initiative. 4LAKids does not dispute that students could use a Bill of Rights – and, if the list of rights is long enough, access to online learning might be one of them. It is not, however, the only one.  This bill guarantees private sector edupreneurs a the “right” to get some public education funding.
"CA Student Bill of Rights Act"

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