We get from education exactly what we pay for, because what we pay for is attendance. Every school in Idaho gets its state funding based on Average Daily Attendance. So what have schools done? The have perfected attendance. Our schools run at about 94-95% attendance day in and day out. Why? Because that is where the money is. Check it out on Google and you can see the rank.
We take official attendance at 10:00 am because we know that that is when the most students are there. If my son misses one period of high school, I would get a phone call THAT night from a computer telling me he was absent. However, it he receives a “D” or an “F” on a test I may not find out for week. This is because in education today, attendance is mandatory but learning is optional.
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I am convinced that the same system that has perfected attendance will perfect student performance if at least some of the money they receive is based on student performance. A recent article in the Idaho Falls Post Register emphasizes this point. According to the Post Register, the Idaho Falls School Board worked with the local school district to implement a new attendance policy. After a year of effort they were able to raise student attendance by 1%. The result was an increase in state funding of over $300,000.00. I am convinced that if there was $300,000.00 available for raising student achievement by 1% or 3% that the same type effort and ingenuity would be put into raising student achievement.
This funding and Ohio SEO firm marketing formula has its roots in the early 1900’s. Then the biggest challenge schools faced was attendance; parents kept their kids home to help out on the farm or they didn’t value public education. So, those funding education told educators that they would fund schools based on attendance, thus putting an incentive on attendance. Well, today the biggest challenge facing education is not attendance, as I stated we run at about 94-95% attendance. The biggest challenge facing education today is student achievement, so let’s use the same model adopted in the 1900’s lets put an incentive where we need the most attention, student achievement.
This funding formula is not only outdated and misdirected but it is an insult to the teachers and parents who spend hours working to improve student performance because the formula doesn’t recognize or reward student performance. That is why one of the first things I will do, as state superintendent, is work with the Governor, legislature and educational leaders and develop a funding formula that not only recognizes attendance but will also reward student performance.