Monday, July 29, 2013

"School of Choice" - You better have a good Selection Process in place.

I talk frequently about this topic (Selection/Hiring Process) and have written about it before too -

I have seen public schools in the past allow students to "transfer" into their school for headcount (State Dollars) and private schools do the same thing for tuition (Dollars).

If there is no selection process (upfront) in place to know what type of student you are allowing into your school you take the chance of having breakdowns throughout your school process/system with behavior and learning problems that create downstream productivity issues with teachers using large amounts of their time correcting these type of behaviors resulting in a few students taking all the time and the majority of students being neglected on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis. The results force parents to seek alternative schools usually with smaller class sizes.

I have seen schools implode from within because no one understands that quality must be designed upfront in all processes regardless if they are in a business, education, or in a medical type of core competency organization.

Now - please do not get me wrong. Some readers may think I am advocating not taking in a student who may have learning or behavior problems. I am simply stating that many schools will take a student in without truly understanding what the student needs or has done in the past because of late records or no records being sent until the student is ingrained within the school process without upfront quality checks. Once this happens the teacher(s) must deal with all the situations on an ongoing daily manner which then impacts all the students learning because an abundance of time and effort are trying to serve a student that requires a different type of teacher and skills to really help the student learn. If the school (regardless if school of choice, private, charter or public) does not have the proper means to help a student then it should recommend a school that will meet the parent and student needs.

Schools should design a selection process where the parent/guardian must sign a contract (especially) if the parent or previous schools does not produce a record or report card) with words that state "For the first semester of school if we find out that grades or behaviors existed in the past that were not told at the point of acceptance the school reserves the right to remove the student.

Let me provide two examples that I know first hand that explains the above situations.

1) Private - A high school was subsidized by two two parishes to build the school so that there elementary and middle schools would feed the high school with students. At the beginning students from outside the two parishes were required to pay a higher tuition rate. Then things started to shift were more and more students were allowed to come from outside the parish who were paying less (some up to 50% and none at all) than the students from the subsidized parishes. Denial was rampant from the parents who were paying full tuition saying the leaders would not allow this to happen.

Slowly the truth started to come out and parents started sending their children to neighboring schools. The school eventually closed because of funding.

2) Public - There is a "School Choice" school district that has grown rapidly (Moved up in class based on student population) in the last few years where more students that attend the high school live outside the school district. It is common knowledge that the majority of behavior problems resulting in serious infractions to school code are from students that came from outside the district.

The results were predictable - Homeowners have turned down school mileages time and time again. Why? Many have told me they will not pay for school improvements for students whose parents don't pay anything toward on-going school maintenance and improvements. Some are mad because their kid(s) can't make the sports teams because the positions are going to kids outside their neighborhoods.

Teachers are upset because the same administration with their short-sighted plans trying to keep their schools afloat go for the quick money that comes from student headcount not realizing that in the long run they will lose money from lack of enrollment and mileage dollars. What makes the teachers most upset is the push to evaluate them for on-going improvement but many of their classes are stacked with students that should not have been placed in their school or class. Some of these students need special help (and it must be given) and others came to there school because they were failing in their previous school or going to be expelled or in fact were expelled for behavior problems.

So if the numbers and dollars that go up with School of Choice are so important then why is this school district imposing a new contract demanding pay cuts for all teachers.

qualityg says - "Please believe me when time must be taken to design your processes with quality upfront and to make sure the voice of the process has measures that identify problems where they can be rectified and not wait until the damage permeated the whole system."

School Administrators own the system and they have failed. Not only at the local level but more importantly at the state and federal level when it comes to education.

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