Contact: Sandra Jackson at 916-325-1550
Sacramento – Parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and other public school employees are today calling on the Governor and the Legislature to remember that the education studies released last week stressed that both efficiency and adequacy are necessary before significant improvement in student learning can take place. It is vital that the adequacy findings not be dismissed in favor of efficiency.
“We recognize that changes must be made in the current system, but the report clearly states that any meaningful changes must be accompanied by a substantial investment in new resources to help students meet the high academic standards and goals we’ve set for them. We will not ignore one aspect of the studies at the expense of the other. They go hand-in-hand,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association.
“This is a comprehensive study and it deserves a comprehensive approach that takes into account recent years of reforms that are still being implemented. Piecemeal legislation that ignores the serious funding needs in our schools would be unfair to the 6.8 million students in our public schools,” said Dr. Kathy Kinley, president of the California School Boards Association.
The reports show that California lags behind the rest of the nation in per-pupil funding and that to assure a quality education for every student, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods, we have to increase school funding by at least an estimated 40%. According to the research, even after accounting for recent budget increases, California’s K-12 spending is below the national average. Adjusting for regional cost differences, Texas spends 12 percent more per pupil than California; Florida, 18 percent; New York, 75 percent, and the rest of the country, 30 percent.
“Discussions about investments in classrooms; school leadership; quality training for teachers, principals and classified school employees; and early interventions are all critical and should be part of the broader discussion of adequate funding for public education,” said Toni Hyland, president of the Association of California School Administrators.
“California has the most rigorous academic standards in the country and is one of the largest economies in the world. Yet California’s spending per student has trailed the national average for almost three decades. We rank 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending when adjusted for the cost of living. And when viewed as a percentage of personal income, California’s spending on K-12 education has actually lost ground since Ronald Reagan was governor,” explained Lora L. Duzyk, president of the California Association of School Business Officials.
“For three decades now, we have asked our schools to do more with less. Many of the programs and services today’s adults remember from their school days no longer exist,” said California School Employees Association President Rob Feckner. “Schools have had to cut the amount of time that classroom assistants spend providing help to struggling students. Most of our schools don’t have art or music programs anymore, and career and technical education programs have practically disappeared. If we are truly serious about providing a world-class education, we must reverse this trend and provide our schools with adequate resources to do the job.”
“Providing quality public schools to all kids remains the top priority in California for parents and voters,” said California State PTA President Brenda Davis. “And they are willing to spend more money to get it. Sixty-five percent of voters believe that additional state funding would lead to a higher quality of K-12 education in California. We also know that we must provide more resources to schools in low-income areas so all students have an equal opportunity to learn.”
“Despite these funding challenges, educators are committed to working hard in our classrooms every day to help students learn and achieve. We are equally committed to doing what is necessary to ensure our schools get the resources they need and deserve,” said Marty Hittelman, president of the California Federation of Teachers.
“The entire Education Coalition looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature so all schools get the adequate, stable and on-going funding they need to help students succeed. It’s time, once again, to make our schools the best in the nation,” said Mary Jane Burke, president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association.