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Education Policy in Alabama and Maryland States
The states of Alabama and Maryland have imposed certain rules and regulations to govern the system of education system in these states. The findings of this paper indicate that the education policy does not require private schools in both states to obtain accreditation. However, there are some licensing requirements for non-public schools in Maryland, and the approval of such schools by the state education department is mandatory. All instructors are generally required to hold certification issued by the department of education and use English as the main language of instruction. Schools must keep student records in addition to complying with the applicable health, zoning, and fire safety regulations.
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Education policy refers to the principles, collection of rules and laws, and the policy-making of the government that govern the functioning of school systems (U.S Department of Education, 2009). Teaching in the United States follows many different forms for various purposes and it is offered in various institutions. For example, there is early childhood schooling and kindergarten up to the 12th grade of high school; there are four-year universities, two-year colleges as well as professional and graduate education institutions and adult education plus job training (U.S Department of Education, 2009). As a result, the policy on education directly affects the people engaged in the teaching at all levels or of all ages. The education policy tackles themes varying from the size of schools, school privatization, infrastructure, teacher training plus certification, methods of teaching, curriculum content, and graduation requirements to the values that schools should uphold (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
The policy is also concerned with the problems faced by higher education. This paper will conduct an in-depth comparative analysis of some regulations in the system of education in the states of Maryland and Alabama. The study seeks to compare the purpose, the objectives of education, and the methods of attaining such goals in the two states.
The system refers to the declaration of the vision, goals, values, or positions of the Educational Board that guide as well as direct the staff and the Superintendent. Policies also serve as tools to create concrete mechanisms for self-governance of the Board (U.S Department of Education, 2009). Rules are issued by the Schools Superintendent to implement the Educational Boards policies and establish the way, in which the Board policies will be executed (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
The general care as well as public education supervision in Maryland and Alabama is assigned to the States Education Department. The States Education Board controls and watches over the public schools and the states educational interests (U.S Department of Education, 2009). This board is responsible for setting the policy that governs public education system administration through adopting regulations and bylaws that have the power of law (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
In Alabama, there are no requirements for the accreditation of private schools. However, the registration of any private school is mandatory. Therefore, all private schools, except church schools, must register yearly on or before 10th October with the States department of education (U.S Department of Education, 2013). Each private but not a church school should give a report about the number of enrolled students, the number of instructors, the rate of enrollment, and attendance. The schools must also provide detailed information about the courses of study, the length of term, funds, costs of tuition, the value of the property as well as the schools general condition. All these requirements are in agreement with the 1975 Code of Alabama, 16-1-11 (U.S Department of Education, 2013). Furthermore, in Alabama, the Superintendent of Education supplies the schools with the necessary forms for recording according to Alabamas 1975 Code 16-4-16 (U.S Department of Education, 2013).
Although there are no licensing and approval requirements for private schools, these schools must hold certificates issued by the Alabama State Education Superintendent. The certificates are issued to show that the schools conform to the state department of education requirement (U.S Department of Education, 2013). These requirements include the following. First, the instruction in such a school is provided by the tutors holding certificates issued by the School Superintendent of the state. Secondly, the teaching in such a school is offered in the numerous branches of study that public schools are required to teach. Third, any private school must confirm that English is the language of instruction. Lastly, a private school must prove that an attendance register is kept to indicate all absenteeism of each student from school for half a day or more (U.S Department of Education, 2013).
On the other hand, there are also no accreditation requirements for private schools in Maryland. However, just like in Alabama, the registration of private schools is mandatory in Maryland (U.S Department of Education, 2009). Institutions run by bona fide church groups are exempted from the obligation to hold an approval certificate from the Maryland State Education Board if the legal churchs legal authority chooses. However, the leader of the official church organizations must register the schools name and address and submit proof of acceptance of the official church (U.S Department of Education, 2014). The church leader must provide the organizations legal authority status plus certification of the lawful authoritys assumption of accountability for operating and governing the non-public school to the Maryland Education Department. This category of schools is classified as church free schools under annotated Maryland code, education article 2-206(e) (4) (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
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Unlike in Alabama, where there are no licensing requirements for private schools, the licensing of private schools in Maryland is required. Registered bona fide religious organizations and any other entity that desire to run non-public nursery schools must have actual compliance letters or the licenses for a child care center. These compliance letters and permits are issued by the Maryland State Education Departments Childcare Office (U.S Department of Education, 2014). The operation of non-public nursery schools is approved by the COMAR 13A.16.16 learning programs in non-public nursery schools. Additionally, licenses are issued in agreement with COMAR 13A16 licensing for childcare center and COMAR 13A.17 compliance letters (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
Furthermore, non-public nursery schools in Maryland operated by tax exempted religious organizations might wish to obtain the approval to proceed from the Childcare Office of the states education department. Such schools are excused from the requirements for childcare center licensing by the Maryland Annotated codes, family law article 5-574 (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Moreover, there are no requirements for childcare center licensing in Maryland for non-public kindergartens and 1st-12th grades (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
The approval of non-public schools in Maryland is mandatory. Approval certificates are required to operate non-collegiate educational institutions in Maryland. The issuance of an endorsement certificate is based upon the appropriateness and the adequacy of the facilities, entrance conditions, and scholarship as well as educational standards and qualifications. These factors are measured regarding the institutions purpose, its programs, workforce requirements, and diplomas or certificates issued (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Moreover, an official non-public school has to certify to the education department that the school does not practice racial, color, or nationality discrimination in line with Marylands Annotated Code, education article 2-206(e)(3) (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
Additionally, any approved private school must display its approval certificate in a conspicuous place on the premises, by COMAR13A.09.10.03G and COMAR 13A.09.09.03E (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Regulations widely known under Educational Article 2-206 for support of private schools include COMAR 13A.09.09 for education programs in private schools that are parent pay. Another regulation is COMAR 13A.09.10 for training programs in childcare plus treatment facilities and private schools that receive public funding (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
In Alabama, instructors teaching in private schools, except church schools, shall hold certificates issued by the States education superintendent under Alabamas code 1975 16-28-1(1)a, (2) (U.S Department of Education, 2013). At the same time, in Maryland, teachers at private schools approved under article COMAR13A.09.09 of education, that is private pay, must hold a bachelors degree in the subject area or the 120-hour semester equivalence. Exceptions to this obligation are permitted only to secondary school teachers of other courses than English- language arts, science, mathematics, and social studies with extra exceptional qualifications (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Additionally, instructors in a Montessori school are required to hold a Montessori tutor credential for the assignment level, according to COMAR 13A.09.09.06 (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Instructors in private schools approved under article COMAR 13A.09.10, which is publicly funded, must hold certificates provided for in the COMAR 3A.12.01, COMAR 13A.12.02, and COMAR 13A.09.10.18C (2) (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
Length of School Days/Year
In Alabama, every child between the age of seven and sixteen should attend either a public school, church school, or a private school (U.S Department of Education, 2009). The child should be tutored by a private teacher certified by the state of Alabama for the whole period of the academic semester in each academic subject under the law of compulsory attendance.
Maryland, on the other hand, has non-public schools approved under private pay to provide for not less than 170 days for the academic program implementation. Non-public schools approved under publicly funded are obliged to provide not less than 180 days of teaching (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
The policy that governs education in Alabama requires each private school to state its purpose and objectives in the catalog, brochure, or the bulletin of the institution. The state of Alabama also requires all private schools, except church schools, to use English as the primary language of instruction (U.S Department of Education, 2013). In addition, the state obliges all private schools, except church schools, within its bounds to provide instructions in the numerous branches of study that the public schools are required to teach. Above all, all private schools, except church schools, have to offer a physical program of education that conforms with the program outlined by Alabamas education department (U.S Department of Education, 2013).
In Maryland, it is the State Board of Education that institutes the minimum requirements for the issuance of diplomas and certificates by the private non-collegiate educational institutions, including private K-12 schools. The state bylaws and regulations on educations require approved non-public schools to offer education programs in English-language arts, science, social studies, and mathematics (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Furthermore, the educational programs offered should be appropriate for the enrolled students. The policy also necessitates that non-private schools approved under private pay should have a certain minimum credit requirement for secondary education graduation (U.S Department of Education, 2013).
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These include four English-language arts credits, two social studies credits with at least one U.S history credit, six credits with at least two credit in mathematics and science, and nine extra credits. Non-public schools approved under publicly funded are mandated to meet the requirements of COMAR 13A.03.02 (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
Record Keeping and Reports
Alabama requires private schools to report to the local superintendent the addresses and names of all enrolled children aged 7-16 at the end of the fifth day following the opening of public schools. The law also requires private schools to give at least weekly reports on names of students absent from school with the excuse (U.S Department of Education, 2013). The principals of church and private schools are obliged to keep attendance registers to show the schools enrollment and every absence of each enrolled student for half day or more. The Alabama State education policy considers this registry as admissible evidence in compulsory attendance hearings (U.S Department of Education, 2013). In Alabama, private schools, which are profit or non-profit entities that cease operations, must place academic student attendance plus financial aid records in consolidated or change of ownership if merged. The private school that stops operating should put such records in the administrative office if it is part of an organization, a system, a church ministry, or franchise. In case the private school terminating its operation has no system support, such student records should be left with the local superintendent of the free city or county. Furthermore, student enrollment and attendance at church schools should be reported to the local superintendent of public schools by the guardian or parent on forms provided by the director. The policy also requires the church schools administrator to countersign the enrollment form. If a student leaves a church school, the school is required to notify the local superintendent of public schools (U.S Department of Education, 2013).
On the other hand, the state of Maryland mandates non-public schools within its bounds to maintain cumulative records of each pupil enrolled. These records include the approved non-public school name, the address and telephones of the school, the students first, last name and middle names, date of birth, and home address. A school also records the month plus the year each student entered the school, the grade upon enrollment, the month and the year the student withdrew (U.S Department of Education, 2014). Additionally, the school should record the performance information of each student and attendance rate in each academic year. Every year, the State Education policy requires each school to certify its compliance with the regulations of approval through completing and submitting annual report forms provided by the academic department of Maryland. The approved non-public high schools must prepare to present transcripts of the secondary school records of every student for each educational year enrolled containing specified components. The transcripts should include details of the school and the student, including credits and grades the student has earned in each subject area, the grading system, and the accepted transfer credits (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
In the event of closure, private schools are required to file the originals or readable copies of all secondary schools transcripts of each student enrolled in grades 9-12 with the schools superintendent. These records serve as permanent files maintained by Maryland director to offer an academic record as required for admission to the post-secondary educational institutions (U.S Department of Education, 2014). The board of education of Maryland requires every private school to provide an annual report on or before August 31 on the schools general enrollment and the courses of study.
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Furthermore, the head teachers or principals are required by the State law to report a students irregular attendance or absence without lawful excuse immediately to the county superintendent. All approved non-public schools are also required to distribute written statements of student-teacher ratios to parents annually (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
Health and Safety Requirements
The education policy in Alabama requires testing or an immunization certificate before admittance into a private school (U.S Department of Education, 2013). All school administrators and teachers employed by non-public schools are required to participate in the in-service curriculum development or teacher education institutes programs for drug abuse and prevention. The state imposes a five years incarceration penalty without probation for the unlawful sale of controlled substances on private school campuses or within a three-mile radius of any school campus. Alabama also requires all private schools to carry out monthly fire drills in addition to having all doors and exits open out and unlocked during school hours (U.S Department of Education, 2013). In addition, private school employers should check sex crime records of all job applicants and volunteers for the positions with disciplinary or supervisory powers over the minors below 18 years of age. Lastly, private schools in Alabama are required to meet fully the code requirements for building unless the building has been used for such purpose before the effective date of the law.
Maryland State Education policy has a requirement for any non-public school to verify its compliance with the applicable health, zoning, and fire safety regulations for the initial issuance of an approval certificate. Individuals suffering from tuberculosis and in a communicable stage are not required to work in any capacity in parochial or private schools. The state laws require testing and certification by the regulations of the department of health and mental hygiene (U.S Department of Education, 2013). Moreover, the health department of Maryland provides and funds vision and hearing screening for all students in all approved non-public schools and all approved non-public special education facilities (U.S Department of Education, 2014).
Maryland education policy also requires all employee and employers of non-public schools who have frequent access to or contact with the students enrolled to undergo a criminal background check. The adults with reason enough to believe that a juvenile has been subjected to neglect or abuse are required to notify the appropriate state authorities and the school head teacher on the same issue (U.S Department of Education, 2009).
Testing and Special Education
The state of Alabama has no specific policy governing education for special need students as well as general testing requirements presently (U.S Department of Education, 2013). On the other hand, Maryland requires publicly funded private schools to meet all state testing requirements while private parent pay schools are not obliged to meet state testing requirements. Maryland also places special need children in suitable non-public educational programs that offer the particular need educational services not offered in the public programs (Maryland State Bar Association, 2016). In Maryland, a child with an inability that affects her or his learning ability is entitled to a program that is designed to suit her or his individual learning needs.
Education policy in Alabama and Maryland states addresses many themes from school privatization, teacher training plus certification, teaching methods, curriculum content, graduation requirements, to values that schools should uphold. Although most regulations on education in the two states differ in many aspects, the purpose and goals of these regulations is to ensure good quality education systems. The two states also have some common rules such as the requirement for teacher certification and the use of English as the only medium of instruction. Maryland appears to impose the more stringent rules on the approval and licensing to operate non-public schools as compared to the state of Alabama. In addition, Maryland law cares for the physically challenged students while Alabama has no clearly defined rule governing education for the special need students.
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