Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012 - (Page 19)

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S DESK How Much Should Schools Do? By V. Wayne Young, KASA Executive Director/General Counsel nor to lament the fact that nothing has changed. Things have changed, dramatically, and for the better. Many of those students who dropped out of school or attended erratically did so because of compelling family circumstances, often rooted in poverty. There was this thing called the Great Depression taking place. School transportation was almost nonexistent, and school food service was unheard of. Education past the sixth grade was the exception rather than the rule. Which brings me to the point of this article: How much should schools do for children, not to provide them with an education, but to remove barriers in order to allow them to be educated? Many of today’s students face the same obstacles that students faced in 1934 that prevented them from obtaining an education. Most of these obstacles remain poverty-driven. But we are better equipped to address these in our 21stcentury schools, and we do a much better job of doing so. Transportation, nutrition and support services that were unimaginable 80 years ago are now fundamental elements of the resources provided to students every day. But there is always a need, and a call, to do more. So the debate goes on about how much schools should do. Bullying prevention, obesity awareness, financial literacy, sexual orientation sensitivity; each topic has advocates who propose that it is essential for schools to be the focal point for their respective cause. That debate will not be solved on these pages. But the title question to this article can be answered quite easily by Kentucky school leaders. How much should schools do for Kentucky’s students? All they can! I hope some of the ideas contained in this edition of the Kentucky School Leader serve to inspire you to find creative ways to deliver more services to more students in your district this year. ✎ Kentucky School Leader Fall 2012 There is always a need, and a call, to do more. I recently read a report regarding some of the ongoing needs of Kentucky public education. The report made the following points: • Our public schools are underfunded. • Public education is a state responsibility; it is inappropriate to shift the burden for school funding to local districts. • Adequate educational opportunity is a primary economic development issue. • It costs 10 times more to incarcerate a citizen than to educate one. • Demanding better-prepared teachers, and then paying them more, is urgent. • Greater funding for schools will allow for the provision of expanded and beneficial program offerings for all students. • Funding for school facilities must be enhanced. None of these points will come as a surprise to anyone who reads them. It also will not be surprising that they were contained in a report provided to the Kentucky General Assembly. In 1934. Surprise! Almost 80 years ago, Superintendent of Public Instruction James H. Richmond included the above items in his biennial report to the legislature. It is somewhat disheartening to realize that the commissioner of education could submit an identical report to the General Assembly today, and it would still be 100 percent accurate. That is not to say that we have not made significant progress. One of Mr. Richmond’s goals was to increase access to junior high school. Average daily attendance was around 75 percent. The dropout rate exceeded 90 percent (the state enrollment report showed 125,000 firstgraders and only 12,000 high school seniors). More than 70 percent of students had a school term of fewer than 150 days per year. “Highly qualified” teachers were those who had two years of college. My point in sharing all this is neither to reminisce about the “good old days” (it doesn’t appear that they were all that good anyway), • 19 http://www.kasa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012

Editor’s Note
2012 Fred Award Winner: Jon Foote
2012 Leadership Awards
Hearts of Grace
President’s View: Caring for the Whole Child
Building a Bridge
2012 Student Video Contest
Lawrence County: Working Together for the Community
Breckinridge County Backpack Program
From the Executive Director’s Desk: How Much Should Schools Do?
Index of Advertisers/Advertisers.com

Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012

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