Acting on its long-standing commitment to assist the state’s students of greatest need, the California Teachers Association sponsored the Quality Education Investment Act, which is providing more support for students and more resources for schools and teachers. The Quality Education Investment Act (SB 1133-Torlakson) is helping schools serving low-income and minority students and English learners close the achievement gap.
Over eight years, the proposal allocates $2.9 billion in one-time, Proposition 98 funding to help these schools to reduce class sizes, improve teacher and principal training, hire more school counselors, and give local school districts additional resources to support programs that best fit the needs of their students. The proposal also increases funding to expand career and vocational education programs offered by community colleges.
This legislation settles the lawsuit, CTA v. Gov. Schwarzenegger, et al, filed by CTA against Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005 and repays schools all the money they are owed under Proposition 98.
SB 1133 will improve academic instruction and boost student achievement in schools serving high percentages of students living in poverty, students still learning to speak English and students facing complex educational challenges. The bill also requires the development of exemplary practices to create the high quality working conditions and excellent learning environments that will attract and retain highly qualified teachers, administrators, and staff. The program initially targeted about 400,000 students in about 500 schools with Academic Performance Index (API) scores in the lowest two deciles. Today the program now uses proven reforms to help at-risk students in about 400 schools statewide.
The Quality Education Investment Act will:
- Maintain class size maximums at 20 in grades Kindergarten-3.
- Reduce class sizes to an average of 25 in grades 4-12.
- Provide a credentialed counselor for every 300 students in high schools.
- Require schools to have highly qualified teachers in all core academic subjects at the end of the third year in the program.
- Establish California’s first teacher quality index to ensure the average teaching experience at these schools is equal to or exceeds the district average.
- Provide all instructional staff and administrators with high quality, professional development that is aligned to state standards. This includes teachers, paraprofessionals and principals. Professional development activities can include collaboration time for teachers to meet with colleagues to develop new instructional lessons or analyze student data, mentoring for new teachers, or extra support for teachers to improve teaching practices.
- Provide district flexibility to encourage school-level innovations that will advance learning excellence.
- Expand a career education program that integrates the curriculum of high schools and community colleges to give students four year of rigorous vocational training. It also provides resources for instructional equipment and materials, technology and facility improvements at community colleges.
The Quality Education Investment Act focuses all resources – including categorical funding – solely on instructional improvement and student services.
The QEIA school turnaround program provides:
- Additional annual funding of $500 per K-3 pupil; $900 per Grade 4-8 pupil; and $1,000 per Grade 9-12 pupil for these targeted schools.
- $300 million in 2007-08, including $268 million for K-12 schools in the program and $32 million for the community colleges.
- $450 million in each year from 2008-9 through 2013-14, with $402 million allocated to K-12 schools in the program, $48 million for the community colleges.
- $2 million each year for County Superintendent Offices to carry out their new duties to support their local schools in the program. An additional $5 million is given to designated county offices in 2007-08 to provide technical assistance to funded schools.
- $1 million to the California Department of Education for program implementation.
- QEIA requires fiscal and instructional accountability.
- The program creates no new sanctions for schools failing to meet academic growth requirements. Instead, the program provides added resources for these schools to improve student achievement.
- The program clearly articulates the shared and unique responsibilities for monitoring and support by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Department of Education, County Offices of Education, local school districts, and local schools.
- By the end of the first three years of the program, funded schools must have exceeded their Academic Performance Index growth targets. Schools failing to meet these academic targets are not terminated from the Quality Education Investment Act program, but will be subject to the same review requirements that already exist under the state’s High Priority Schools Grant program.