Does one-size-fits-all funding work?
All students should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. But with the nature of school funding these days, and the overemphasis on standardized tests, many students can’t get the extra attention they need. How many times have you had to keep your lesson moving ahead, when you could tell by the lost looks on a few faces that they weren’t quite getting it?
Maybe they need more one-on-one attention that your class size makes impossible. Maybe they need to go to the reading lab or work with the librarian, but your school let the librarian go two years ago. Or maybe their home life has been stressful and they just need someone to listen and tell them it’s going to be OK, but the one counselor in your school is swamped with standardized testing responsibilities.
We know that not every student in California has the same opportunity for success. Some need additional resources to get them to where they need to be.
As you’ve seen in the news, legislators are in the midst of passing a historic budget agreement that overhauls education funding for K-12 schools. As school doors close this month, new doors are opening with the new funding plan. CTA supports the compromise agreement and the governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) because it recognizes that one-size-fits-all funding doesn’t fit all students. Now, additional funding for our students of greatest need will help more dreams become realities.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of educators, parents and others to pass Proposition 30, new money is flowing into our schools for the first time in five years. This allows for the new spending plan, which provides all schools with more resources, begins repaying schools the money they are owed from years of budget cuts, recognizes the need for smaller class sizes, and helps meet the needs of school districts serving students with high needs.
The state budget is being approved as I write this. It’s honestly exhilarating, as it’s been such a long time since we’ve seen a state budget proposal with a significant increase in education funding.
I’m encouraged by the $1.25 billion for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These new standards will dramatically impact teaching and learning, and educators must have the resources they need to help students succeed. While this agreement holds the promise of a better future for all of our students, we must all be accountable with the new resources.
With this new funding formula, we will need to hold districts accountable on how they spend the money. And we need to hold ourselves accountable to work collaboratively and assertively with school boards to make sure the resources go where they are needed the most. We will need to change how we bargain. We will need to provide more input and expertise to our local association leaders. This new school funding plan will reshape the way we support our students.
It is long past time for California to change the way it funds public schools. We must ensure all students get the resources they need — especially when some need more than others. The governor’s Local Control Funding Formula will make that possible. And that gives me hope for the future of public education in California.
Have a great summer.