Just as high schools are struggling to get kids back in school and help them catch up on lost learning over the past 15 months, our out-of-touch legislature is trying to put restrictions on schools that will affect hundreds of thousands of students – most of whom are from low-income households, are students of color and have special learning needs.
This impending disaster is in the form of AB 1316, which is a teacher union-backed attack on charter schools. In addition to cutting funding to nonclassroom-based (NCB) charters, this bill contains several serious clauses that will do nothing but hurt at-risk students. One is to eliminate multi-track school year calendars, which are critically important for students from vulnerable populations. Most of our students come to us in either October or April when they finally realize they are hopelessly lost. Do we really want to tell a failing student in April that they need to wait until the fall to resume their education? Of course not. And for many students who are 17 ½ or 18 years old, they won’t be eligible to return to high school the next semester.
The beauty of NCB schools is that we can accept youth up to 22 years old – once they have aged out of high school. Instead of dropping out and becoming a burden on the community, they should be able to find a school any month of the year that will help them earn their diploma and get extra support. Plus, NCBs give students flexibility to deal with the adult responsibilities in their lives – like having to work or taking care of their babies. Schools should be convenient for the students – not for the staff.
If we’ve learned anything about schooling this year, it’s that flexibility is important and we must do everything we can to keep kids engaged, learning, and on a path to a diploma and beyond. AB 1316 does the exact opposite. If you wish to express your opinion on this issue, please contact your representative. To find out more information about the bill, please visit StopAB1316.com