Saturday, August 25, 2007

Accountability and Schools

On the California Progress Report, Supt. Of Instruction O’Connell praises the governor for some of his budget decisions and asks for more money on others.
The legislature and governors have meddled and muddled in education, but they have not done their job: to decide upon a reasonable fair tax system and to raise the money needed for schools. Politicians have failed at this task for over 20 years while California’s public schools have been forced into a steep decline in quality.
While there are some schools that have failed students– it is also clear that the legislature has failed the schools.
The decline in quality, the lack of counselors, the decline in career technical preparation lead directly to increased dropouts. Accountability systems will not fix these problems. Funding is required.
Last year in SB 1209 Scott , the legislature imposed a significant new cost on teacher preparation for “teacher performance assessment”, again the accountability model. No funds are in this year’s budget for this assessment. And, the budget next year looks at least as restrictive.
A group of us working with California Faculty Association tried to limit this unfunded mandate through AB 750 (Carter) which did not survive in the Assembly. We contacted Senator Stienberg’s office for assistance.
A basic issue is in a budget this tight, should the state be imposing yet another unfunded mandate? And, should the state be imposing a $6 – 9 $ million cost for a high stakes testing system of teachers when the assessment system has limited validity.
The legislature has an accountability problem. It regularly imposes accountability on the schools- but it does not impose accountability on itself.
Therefore, we, the voters need to impose accountability on the legislature. At present the Democrats have two high priority issues; extending term limits and stopping the Republican coup for dividing the electoral college. How can we best impose accountability in this election season?
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