California – new law aids low-performing schools

September 1, 2006

Maybe California will get back on track.

Once California’s public schools were the envy of most of the nation.  Most of them worked well, and proved very attractive to new businesses who needed well-educated workers for increasingly complex and technical jobs.  Then the state lurched to a “don’t spend” mode with Proposition 13, which severely limited tax increases, and the school system began a long slide towards mediocrity.

Growth in the Las Vegas, Nevada, schools is driven in part by people fleeing California for better schools. 

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports a change in attitude in the top levels of government:

SACRAMENTO – A sweeping $3 billion agreement to give hundreds of low-performing schools smaller classes, more qualified teachers and additional counselors was revealed yesterday by the Schwarzenegger administration and the California Teachers Association.

The proposal would create one of the largest pilot programs in state history, targeting 600 struggling schools heavily populated with minority students.

What a unique idea!  Who would have thought that targeting low-performing schools with money to improve education would, you know, improve education? 

Meanwhile, other states struggle with “reform” efforts designed to take money away from struggling schools.  Nation to education:  “The floggings will continue until morale improves.” Read the rest of this entry »

Newspaper prays for drought in Nevada education funding

August 8, 2006

No sooner did I note the Nevada State School Board’s request for more money, mostly to increase teacher pay, than today’s editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal started shooting at the proposal, saying it has no chance to pass.

The editorial board wrote:

That the board would make such an outlandish demand is not surprising. Leading into each legislative session over the past decade, the board has prepared budgets that far exceed the state’s ability to pay. Of the board’s 10 members, six have ties to education, either through teaching positions or retirements from schools and colleges. From their perspective, schools can never have enough money, no matter how much they pull from your pockets.

The earlier story noted that the slide to the current average classroom size took several years. From the appearances of the earlier story, the state has not kept pace with funding needs in education. If the state board’s recommendations are not met one year, and they recommend full funding the next year, the recommendations will begin to look “outlandish.” As the needs continue to be unmet with funding, the need for funding grows — and usually such growth is not linear, but is instead exponential. Ten years of budget failure does not indicate that the current budget proposal is too large by any means. It would be the logical result of a state sliding in education capability. Read the rest of this entry »

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