Restructuring Funding For California Schools

California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent pitch to restructure funding for CA public schools has caused quite the uproar. Why is everyone in such a tizzy, you ask? We’ll explain.

The plan, in its simplest terms, would drastically change the allocation of funding to public school. Using a formula, more funds would be directed towards those school districts with higher percentages of needy students, English learners, and foster kids. The problem is, these extra funds will not be taken from the general California money pot, instead they will be taken from the education pot. Essentially, these school districts will benefit at the detriment of other school districts.

Several critics of the plan have pointed out that the formula that would be used would end up giving preference to districts in urban areas, and that affluent suburban districts would correspondingly suffer. Ultimately, this has a lot more to do with economics than education – which is likely the problem. Yes, affluent school districts would receive less funding, but is that really the end of the world? There are several school districts that come to mind which could probably operate without government funding considering how successful their fundraisers are and how large of donations they receive. School districts with needy kids need plans like this because the plans in place don’t work for them. Testing-based funding especially would be routinely denied to districts struggling to keep their students up to par in the face of circumstances they can’t control.

Many have argued that this doesn’t just take money away from wealthy school districts, but from middle class districts as well, effectively alienating the middle class as the state tries to pull together in the face of the recession. Would the economy in California honestly dive-bomb because of needy schools getting the funding they need? Maybe, maybe not (we honestly don’t know being A) not economists and B) focused on education). The point is Gov. Brown has brought up a major issue which needs to be addressed. We can talk all we want about improving education on here and out in the world, but the reality is that improving will require funding, as will equalizing the system.

What do you think of Gov. Brown’s plan? Is it a necessary step or a major mistake?

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