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Regulations Hamper School Improvement

posted Nov 6, 2010, 3:22 PM by Gary Jones   [ updated Nov 22, 2010, 8:33 AM ]
Mr. Lane Bates, Superintendent of the Modoc Joint Unified School District, pointed out last week the ridiculousness of the state’s new law concerning “open enrollment.” Earlier this year, the superintendents and school boards were suspicious about proposed legislation related to the federal Race to the Top (RTTP) applications that California submitted. Part of this suspicion is directly related to our collective experiences of how legislation is implemented and interpreted for small rural schools.
Sometimes legislation is onerous from its inception. More often, bureaucrats within state departments create regulations that make the legislation something the legislature never intended it to be. This is the case with “open enrollment,” currently proposed changes to the teachers’ retirement system (STRS), and a host of other state compliance requirements and mandates that appear on our desks. If the cubicle-bound bureaucrats do not create regulations from whole cloth, there is always the chance a judge will create something in the law beyond legislative intent.


While our local school systems have handled themselves remarkably well financially, we are all increasingly burdened with regulations, mandates, and rulings that negatively affect our ability to improve the public education system in our county and state.


As leaders of small rural schools, the school boards and superintendents are continually engaged in how to improve our instructional programs for all students. Sometimes it feels like we are swimming against a tide of idiocy.