Can I talk for a minute about funding? I was reading an article about a local school district who is trying to pass a bond to upgrade their facilities and technology. It's been 14 years since they've had any major changes. Computers are running on Windows XP (which doesn't support a lot of newer programs). Wireless is practically non-existent. Wired ports in classrooms only work part of the time. Detractors to the bond have been posting signs and talking to the local newspaper about the "sneaky" tax that the school district is trying to pass. Furthermore, the same detractors are supporting legislation at the state level that would make all special elections be done in November of even years only.
This means that if any budgetary need arises, they would have to wait to get it passed. Think about school districts. If they vote in November 2012, and it passes, the money could come through during the summer, so any changes wouldn't be able to be implemented until almost a year after the bond passes.
Worse, what if it doesn't pass? Then you have to wait another two years to try again, and really you'd be waiting at least 3 years until the money even made it to the classrooms.
If you had a middle school with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, they could go their entire middle school life without any upgrades.
It also muddles up elections, because if everything is being voted on in November, people are naturally going to start picking and choosing. I don't mind looking at one bond issue in May, another in November, but when you put them all together, that's a lot of money.
My solution? It's complicated. I for one think there is too much red tape in some places, but there's not enough red tape in other places . It all goes back to balance, you have to balance the needs of the community with the needs of the school, and the emerging technology needs of the students. But, while we're figuring out what we want to invest in our future leaders, our future leaders are passing through life without the tools and skills they need to actually succeed?