Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Educating disadvantaged children in California, finding accountable solutions that work

The Mercury News/Education/Sharon Noguchi, 7/12/16. "California school spending: Will $88.3 billion help poor kids?"

Image result for kids in school picture
Goal:  to thrive in school, and not fall behind
Image result for kids in school picture
I can read, I am smart,
I am good, I have a future
"Three years after Gov. Jerry Brown freed schools from spending controls and gave them extra cash to narrow a yawning achievement gap, the governor's reform remains popular among schools -- but there's only scattered evidence that the state's largesse is improving education for the most disadvantaged students. When he signed what he dubbed a revolutionary law in 2013, Brown promised that money would flow to high-needs students hampered by language barriers, poverty and family instability. Through his new Local Control Funding Formula, Brown said the state would butt out of school spending decisions.

.... The ways local districts use funds for high needs students varies widely because of ambiguity in the rules and uneven enforcement. On Wednesday and Thursday, the State Board of Education will consider new regulations on how schools must write and organize reports on how they are spending funds for needy students. .... Both Gov. Brown and Michael Kirst (president of the State Board of Education) support judging schools by how students perform, not by how pots of money are spent. But that's difficult. California hasn't had an education yardstick for three years, since dumping its old Academic Performance Index.

....  For decades, schools received per-pupil sums based on historic tax rates, plus dozens of grants for specific programs, like adult education, music or physical education. Now the state hands over a lump sum, based on enrollment, plus a grant for every needy child -- defined as English learners, foster children and kids from poor families. School districts with a preponderance of those disadvantaged students get an extra grant.

In exchange, schools are supposed to engage parents and explain how they'll use their money. Civil rights advocates insist that the law requires detail on how the two extra sums for high-needs students will be spent. But that's often missing or hard to find, buried in dense documents hundreds of pages long. ....  The tussle matters because in California, three out of five students are disadvantaged and tend to be at the bottom of a yawning achievement gap."
Read article.

Reference from the article.  "To look up each school district's Local Control and Accountability Plan, go to lcapwatch.org. For the State Board of Education's agenda on the Local Control Funding Formula, or to watch Wednesday (7/13) and Thursday (7/14) meeting (from 8:30 AM) , go to bayareane.ws/29Gv2Zl ."

Note photographs, Girl and boy from Iran Daily, 7/13/16.  Backpacks from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary, Rio Rancho, NM 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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