Before you get main piece of this post, keep the following excerpt in mind:
From the Building A Better California website –
Governor Schwarzenegger has kept his commitment to education by ensuring that every student has access to a quality school principal and quality teachers, investing in opportunities for students, and restoring music, art, and physical education to support a well-rounded education. The Budget includes $66.3 billion ($40.5 billion General Fund and $25.8 billion other funds) for K-12 education programs. This reflects and increase of $2.8 billion ($495.4 million General Fund and $2.3 billion other funds) or 4.4 percent over the revised 2006-07 budget. The total per-pupil expenditures from all sources are projected to be $11,240 in 2006-07 and $11,584 in 2007-08 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ both all-time records for the state.Ã‚Â (There is a whole lot more…)
Now read this latest study on the state of California schools:
Report Card of CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Education System
Shows Dismal Results
SACRAMENTO -The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free market think tank based in California, today announced the results of its 2007 California Education Report Card: Index of Leading Education Indicators. It is the fourth edition of a report that began in 1997.
Lance T. Izumi, PRIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s director of Education Studies, and co-authors Rachel Chaney and Xiaochin C. Yan, evaluate and grade 17 aspects of CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s education system, including its accountability system, standards tests, graduation rates, courses, and finance system. In a total of 17 categories, there were six Ã¢â‚¬Å“FÃ¢â‚¬Âs, five Ã¢â‚¬Å“DÃ¢â‚¬Âs, four Ã¢â‚¬Å“CÃ¢â‚¬Âs, one Ã¢â‚¬Å“BÃ¢â‚¬Â, and one Ã¢â‚¬Å“AÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is not a report card that any student would want to bring home to his or her parents, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a report card that I am proud to deliver to the California taxpayer,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mr. Izumi.
The results include:
School Accountability System = F
The stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Academic Performance Index (API) will take decades for many low-performing schools to raise their performance to proficient levels, and most low-performing schools are not subject to any accountability whatsoever.
California Standards Test = F
Only about four in 10 students in grades two through 11 scored at or above the proficient level in English language arts and math in 2006.
Finance System = F
Inflation-adjusted funding per pupil has gone up dramatically over the last decade, but too many of these tax dollars are being wasted on state programs that have yet to show success. Further, the state continues to create new education programs, most of which do not have any accountability mechanisms to prove their worth.
Dropout and Graduation Rates = D-
About three in 10 California high school students who enter the ninth grade fail to graduate four years later, and more than four in 10 African-American and Hispanic students fail to graduate.
Course Difficulty = D
Fewer students in California are taking difficult math and science courses compared to the national average and to states like Texas, and a large majority of students are not taking university preparatory courses.
English Language Learners = D+
California has no methodologically sound way of comparing year-to-year student progress on California English Language Development Test (CELDT), the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s main instrument for determining the English fluency of English Language Learners. Also, because of self-interested funding concerns, many school districts hesitate to reclassify EL students as being fluent in English even if they have scored at the proficient level on CELDT. Research on stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s high school exit exam shows that significant numbers of EL students are not reclassified for 10 years.
Standards = A
California has one of the best sets of academic content standards in the nation. Unfortunately for the state and its students, the standards have been inconsistently implemented in the classroom.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Californians need to spend less time debating how much should be spent on public education and should spend more time focusing the discussion on what works in raising student achievement,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mr. Izumi. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Finding effective answers to this question will lead to improvements in the quality of education services, the performance of students, and ultimately the future of the Golden State.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Democrats and Republicans have failed this state big time (which is why neither party got my vote this past election cycle—hmmm, there may have been one Republican now I think about it). Folks who whine and complain about schools not getting enough funding should look first to teachers unions and local school administrations.
This is a info sheet I created (pdf file) a while ago regarding the Congressional Black Caucus’ stone dedication to our failing educational system (while some of the members pictured on this sheet need to be removed due to recent elections, their stance as a group has remained the same).