Written by Julianne Foster
Lawyers representing a group of students and administrators are saying their case against California for recent “illegal budget changes” is the most important educational civil rights case since Brown v. Board of Education. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on schools and the education system, which is now being further mishandled by state officials.
Since school districts have been forced to comply with state rules on safety and closures, education has moved largely online. Forced online formats have caused a decrease in educational quality, leading many families to relocate their students to schools that are better prepared to support them in such a time of need.
Successful school districts, charter schools, and schools that offer personalized learning programs are excelling in their teaching capabilities and attendance since the pandemic has affected the education system. However, with two Democratic bills, SB 98 and AB 77, those schools fulfilling students’ needs will lose funding from the state, while failing school systems benefit from their losses.
Through the success of California’s Local Control Funding Formula, money is dispersed based on student’s needs and what schools they enroll in, allowing for money to follow students to their different schools and continue benefiting them. The school districts and charter schools which are successful in providing quality education are meant to receive the necessary funding that comes with increased enrollment.
SB 98 and AB 77 reward failing schools by basing this year’s budget allocation for school funding on last year’s enrollment numbers. Schools who lost students due to falling short of their needs during the pandemic will be financially secure with the extra funding, and rewarded for their failures. However, essential schools who are rising to the task to support students when they are needed most are being punished by Democratic legislation.
Not only does this harm the schools, it harms the students since those funds don’t follow them to the school they select, causing them to be waitlisted or turned away from the opportunity of receiving the best education available. It’s completely within their right to have the option of where to attend a school they deem the best for their situation. It’s also crucial to give families such flexibility with having more options during such a confusing and restrictive time. Instead, these Democratic bills are forcing hundreds of students into failing schools.