Given the obscure definitions used by the Texas Education Agency to calculate the high school dropout rate, I can understand why the legislature might feel the need to explicitly define who is a dropout. But I have to wonder about the following requirement:
(e) Each school district shall cooperate with the agency in determining whether a student is considered a dropout under this section. The agency shall require that a school district provide at least the following documentation regarding a student who dies or who leaves school but is not considered a dropout under this section:
(1) for a student who dies, a death certificate;
Maybe I’m wrong and it’s no big deal, but it seems to me that requesting a copy of a child’s death certificate from grieving parents would make the hall of fame for insensitive, bureaucratic, and unnecessary policies. Perhaps the state will come up with a way for officials to by-pass the parents.
It would seem that the TEA should be able to trust the schools to list students as being deceased appropriately. Unfortunately, experience has shown that without requiring some sort of verification, some administrator will start listing students as being dead rather than admitting that they dropped out or have no idea of what happen to them.
Just as an aside, the bill once again unnecessarily distinguishes between withdrawing a child to enroll in another school and withdrawing a child to homeschool. Since homeschools are private schools in Texas there should be no difference. In these situations, it’s generally a case of ignorance on the part of the author. But there are times I wonder if there is this inclination to specify homeschoolers separately from private schools because if the state did decide to increase regulation over homeschoolers, it wouldn’t have to go back and make changes every time a law talked about private schools. But then I realize how little evidence there is of such forethought by our legislature and rest easy again.