Thursday, July 09, 2009

Education cuts: Sacramento Bee

This is from the Sacramento Bee editorial of today;
"Consider education spending and the way the Democrats who control the Legislature have acted over the past two weeks. Only 10 days ago, on the night of June 30, the Democrats were pushing a bill that would have cut education spending by $3 billion, or about 6 percent. When Republicans balked because they wanted those cuts to be part of a comprehensive solution to the state's massive fiscal shortfall, the bill failed, the clock struck midnight and a new fiscal year began.

Now the same cuts the Democrats were pushing cannot go into effect without a suspension of Proposition 98, the constitutional amendment that sets a floor beneath school spending. And many Democrats are saying they won't vote to suspend that measure, even to implement the very cuts they were so recently demanding.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't cut education spending, either. While there's little or no proof that more money for the schools leads to better outcomes for students, California is already well below average in per pupil funding, near the bottom of the states by some measures."

Now, lets see. California ranks 47th. of the 50 states in per pupil spending. (depending on how you count). If you use the dept. of finance figures, we rank 27th.
And, we have ranked near the bottom for decades.

Our reading scores and math scores rank about 47 -49 in the nation.
Lack of money produces results. The Governor and the legislature each year under fund the schools and they get exactly what they pay for - a low quality system.
The following is from the 4th. edition of my book, Choosing Democracy.

parochial schools have enjoyed these advantages for years.

Currently, our schools work for some students and do not work for others. As Berliner and Biddle well demonstrated in The Manufactured Crisis (1995), schools for middle class Black, Latino and European American children fundamentally fulfill their purposes. But the schools for poor African American, Latino and European American children fail. And while this failure affects all children, it disproportionately impacts the children of African Americans and Latinos. Fully half of all their children are in failing schools. In 2005 on the NAEP assessment, nationally over 58% of Black and 54% of Latino children scored below Basic in Reading levels in 4th grade (Reading Report Card of the National Center for Educational Statistics 2005). Differences in math scores are similarly stark. (See Figure 1.2) That is to say, we do not have a general education crisis in the nation, we have a crisis for Black, Latino, Asian and poor white kids. We have an unjust and unequal school system in an unjust and unequal society.

Duane Campbell
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