Written by Matthew Evans
Education is one of the most prominent issues in society today, with legislators throughout the country working on revamping and improving the education system. One such example has been happening in California, with the aim of giving extra support to needy schools and districts to grow and thrive. Former Governor Jerry Brown implemented the landmark Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, which redistributed educational funds throughout the state, and in turn, generated speculation and doubt.
While more money is being poured into needy schools with large populations of disadvantaged students, there are other problems that are still being overlooked. The majority of these schools with extra funding are being taught by teachers who have less than three years of experience, resulting in a standstill of improvement rather than the massive improvement in academic achievement that legislators had hoped for.
Overall, only small improvements have been made academically with a small number of students, but not nearly enough to formally close the gap between successful students and those that are struggling.
Another problem being overlooked has to do with better-performing schools in well-off areas. Due to higher academic performance within these schools, they receive less funding in accordance with the Local Control Funding Formula. However, disadvantaged students, while in smaller numbers, reside in these schools as well.
Essentially, they get the short end of the stick and suffer in the process. The lack of consistency within the plan and the lack of reform within the California Legislature is resulting in consecutive years of ineffective education reform.
Along with these issues, the plan states that it is not mandatory for schools to report how they spend the funds they are given, so there is no oversight over how the schools are spending their funds. While this issue in itself is controversial, a veil of secrecy over the use of the massive amounts of money being poured into these schools is troubling. Schools should be held accountable for using funds in such a way that most effectively supports the students.
By investing in a diverse group of teachers with experienced backgrounds, these schools are bound to thrive. Republicans are pushing for more common sense and locally-based education reform, and the rest of the California Legislature should follow suit.