Ohio HB 30 and stampeding moms

I got into a little discussion on Facebook, prompted by the following status report:

Oh, look, now they want to charge tuition for kids to attend state school. Yaknow what? Y’all have lost your minds.

It is buried in the proposed Ohio House Bill 30 focused on repealing all-day kindergarten. I haven’t read the full text for implications, but you can BET YOUR SWEET ASS that I will.

So there was a certain amount of “Kasich and the rich” and “This can’t possibly be legal under the state constitution”  (it probably is, under Article VI, sec. 2-3). So I decided to post a link to the bill, and discuss the relevant section:

(E) The scheduling of times for kindergarten classes and length of the school day for kindergarten shall be determined by the board of education of a city, exempted village, or local school district, subject to section 3321.05 of the Revised Code.

(F) Any kindergarten class offered by a day-care provider or school described by division (B)(1) or (B)(2)(a) of this section shall be developmentally appropriate.

(G) Upon written request of a day-care provider described by division (B)(2)(a) of this section, the department of education shall determine whether certification held by a teacher employed by the provider meets the requirement of division (B)(2)(b)(iii) of this section and, if so, shall furnish the provider a statement to that effect.

(H) As used in this division, “all-day kindergarten” has the same meaning as in section 3321.05 of the Revised Code.

(1) Any school district that did not receive for fiscal year 2009 poverty-based assistance for all-day kindergarten under division (D) of section 3317.029 of the Revised Code may charge fees or tuition for students enrolled in all-day kindergarten. If a district charges fees or tuition for all-day kindergarten under this division, the district shall develop a sliding fee scale based on family incomes.

(2) The department of education shall conduct an annual survey of each school district described in division (H)(1) of this sectionto determine the following:

(1)(a) Whether the district charges fees or tuition for students enrolled in all-day kindergarten;

(b) The amount of the fees or tuition charged;

(c) How many of the students for whom tuition is charged are eligible for free lunches under the “National School Lunch Act,” 60 Stat. 230 (1946), 42 U.S.C. 1751, as amended, and the “Child Nutrition Act of 1966,” 80 Stat. 885, 42 U.S.C. 1771, as amended, and how many of the students for whom tuition is charged are eligible for reduced price lunches under those acts;

(2)(d) How many students are enrolled in traditional half-day kindergarten and how many students are enrolled in rather thanall-day kindergarten, as defined in section 3321.05 of the Revised Code.

Each district shall report to the department, in the manner prescribed by the department, the information required by this division described in divisions (H)(2)(a) to (d) of this section.

The department shall issue an annual report on the results of the survey and shall post the report on its web site. The department shall issue the first report not later than April 30, 2008, and shall issue a report not later than the thirtieth day of April each year thereafter.

Sec. 3321.05. (A) As used in this section, “all-day kindergarten” means a kindergarten class that is in session five days per week for not less than the same number of clock hours each day as for students in grades one through six.

(B) Any school district may operate all-day kindergarten or extended kindergarten, but beginning in fiscal year 2011, each city, local, and exempted village school district shall provide all-day kindergarten to each student enrolled in kindergarten, except as specified in divisions (C) and (D) of this section.

(C) The board of education of a school district may apply to the superintendent of public instruction for a waiver of the requirement to provide all-day kindergarten for all kindergarten students. In making the determination to grant or deny the waiver, the state superintendent may consider space concerns or alternative delivery approaches used by the school district.

(D) No no district shall require any student to attend kindergarten for more than one-half of the number of clock hours required each day for grades one through six traditional kindergarten by the minimum standards adopted under division (D) of section 3301.07 of the Revised Code. Each school district that operates all-day or extended kindergarten shall accommodate kindergarten students whose parents or guardians elect to enroll them for one-half of the minimum number of hours required each day for grades one through six.

(E)(C) A school district may use space in child day-care centers licensed under Chapter 5104. of the Revised Code to provide all-day kindergarten under this section.

This removes the mandate for all-day kindergarten that was to start this year. It says that a district may not REQUIRE more than half-day K-garten attendence. And it says that IF it offers full-day K-garten, AND has NOT been getting special aid for poor districts, it MAY charge fees or tuition, but must do so on a sliding scale. Does anyone here really have a problem with that? If a parent wants the kid in full-day because it’s more convenient for them, basically using the school as day-care, they should pay a day-care fee, no?

I figured that maybe this would lead to some substantive debate, that somebody would thank me for posting the link, that somebody would say, “Oops, it doesn’t say that” or angrily maintain that it does in fact say that. But I should have saved my typing time.  The replies were along the lines of “all the data supporting how good all-day-K is for kids.” (without citing the data, which is apparently not all positive or conclusive) or wanting some certainty about what they’d get for their taxes. Let’s say that all-day-K is good for all kids, all the time. Is even earlier schooling good for them?  Should we grab the kids at birth and hand them to the experts?  Even if it’s good, can we afford it?  My generation did just fine on half-day-K…but we also didn’t grow up in a 2-wage-slave household, and had parents teaching us things before we started school. And who are the “we” that can or can’t afford it? Is this enough of a social benefit that, granting the premise that education is a social benefit, we should all pay for it whether we use it or not?

If people won’t call into question novel perks of being an Ohioan, how are they ever going to face down established things like public education, welfare, and food stamps?

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