California??™s Education 1
California??™s Failing Education System
Denise M. Nee
Axia College of University of Phoenix
Is California??™s education system failing us This is a question that many
people are pondering these days. Regardless if the answer to this question is a yes or no there is no doubt that we need to unite and stand up for our schools.
Due to recent budget cuts in California all our schools, teachers, students,
classroom sizes, art programs and extracurricular activities have been
dramatically affected. To put it simply, funds are being misused because schools are not acquiring proper funding.
California??™s public schools have already been cut more that $11 billion. Pink slips have already been handed out to at least 27,000 teachers and education support professionals. California schools currently rank 47th in per-pupil spending. This is the dismal reality of the crisis that California??™s education system is in and we can not let it get worse. If this projected budget cut request holds true, we could lose up to a total of 350,000 public school teachers.
According to the website www.capta.org statistics show that the state of California has more students per teacher than that of the United States as a whole. Now they are trying to increase the class size by 55% more.
Parents of public school students need to have a clear understanding of how the schools systems are funded. If parents have the right knowledge, than they can become more effective advocates for properly funding the public schools. Many people were unaware of the depth of the crisis until the state basically went broke and we hit rock bottom.
The money received for California??™s public schools get most of their dollars from state rather than local funds (primarily property taxes). In most states, school districts have the authority to adjust local property tax rates to acquire the resources needed to support local schools. California can not do this because CA. Proposition 13 capped the local property tax rate at 1% and Proposition 1A of 2004 locked in the allocation of revenues among schools, cities, counties, and special districts.
Each school district in California has been affected differently. The more abundant districts are able to survive on their local bonds and taxes, but the inner city districts (which are poorer) do not have that opportunity available to them. This is where drop out rates are the highest throughout our state and now due to cuts we are going to with hold these students the opportunity for a better education, access to a nurse or librarian or the proper academic, and psychological
guidance through counseling.
The dropout rates and numbers below are already a tragedy and now we are at risk for them to double or even triple.
According to the Globe trotter article (Marin-Forum) (published July 18, 2008): ???California??™s Failing Education System goes way beyond the School yard, the 24% statewide drop out rate is more than a statistic???. Could these budget cuts not only increase our classroom size but help increase the number of students who fall through the cracks and eventually drop out
Dropouts by Ethnicity, Grades 9 -12 State of California, 2007-2008
|Ethnicity |Enrollment |Adjusted |Adjusted 1 year |Adjusted 4 year |
| | |Dropouts (1) |dropout |dropout rate (3) |
| | | |Rate (2) | |
|American |16,523 |1,146 |6.9% |25.4% |
|Indian | | | | |
|Asian |173,569 |3,753 |2.2% |8.4% |
|Pacific |13,461 |787 |5.8% |22.2% |
|Islander | | | | |
|Filipino |56,470 |1,364 |2.4% |9.4% |
|Hispanic |913,059 |59,915 |6.6% |25.5% |
|African |162,099 |15,529 |9.6% |34.7% |
|American | | | | |
|White |633,304 |20,394 |3.2% |12.2% |
|Multiple / No Response|47,235 |3,184 |6.7% |25.3% |
|Total |2,015,720 |106,073 |5.3% |20.1% |
1 ??“Total reported dropouts adjusted by removing reenrolled dropouts and adding lost transfers
2 ??“ Adjusted dropouts divided by enrollment
3- Estimate of the percent of students who would drop out in a four year period based on data collected for a single year
Because of the debt that the state is in a Master Plan was put together to not only make sure we revise the use of our funds but to monitor and set specific guidelines for our legislators, even down to the Governor. The web site www.ucop.edu/acadinit/mastplan/master_plan2002.pdf is a government site which
accesses the Master Plan for the education system in California. The plan clearly stated itself ???California no longer has any racial or ethnic group that is a majority of the states population, yet schools serving large concentrations of low-income students, as well as those serving large numbers of black, Latino and Native Americans disproportionally receive fewer resources that matter in quality education, resulting in lower student education???.
How can we continue to cutback on funds where we are already clearly suffering long before this new budget proposal The school districts that need the most help will suffer the worst. This reinforces the theory that more children could fall through the cracks and dropout rates would soar.
Here are a few of the details on the state of California??™s recently passed State Budget. These cuts are focused on public schools but; this budget package has a dramatic affect on higher education, especially community colleges. All information and statistics provided by CTA (California??™s Teacher Association), www.cta.org : The cuts that will be made by this new budget are as follows:
1. Shutting down every school across the state for 40 days, or,
2. Increasing class sizes statewide by 55%, or
3. Reducing per-student spending nearly $2,000 or
4. Laying off 290,000 bus drivers, janitors, food service workers, maintenance workers, and other education support professionals, or
5. Laying off more than 165,000 teachers, or
6. Cutting more than 49,000 per classroom, or
7. Cutting nearly $19.7 million per school district, or
8. Eliminating all music, art and career technical education programs statewide with room to cut even more.
These budget cuts are and will affect an entire generation of children. Some of the essential school programs are being affected, causing schools to eliminate most of the physical education programs, art, music, technical, and career education programs. Every single one of these programs is a vital part to our children??™s education. The cuts are leading to layoffs of teachers, counselors , principals, vice principals, librarians, custodians, safety officers, office staff, and many other school personnel that provide services and aid to students.
This budget crisis not affects our public school system but our states University and colleges too. The idea that every adult could go to college is starting to decline and could possibly become non -existent. At one time California??™s Education system was one of the most abundant systems created to offer the opportunity for advancement and educations for any resident, poor or rich. California has one of the nation??™s largest community college networks, which now is in serious decline. Some of the cuts being made to University??™s and Community Colleges are raising class fees, eliminating courses,
eliminating enrollment, and asking staff and faculty to take furlough days. Just as in California??™s public schools system classroom sizes are up, library hours are down, and any idea of new innovative programs are on hold.
Should this be acceptable that not only are we denying a generation of children solid education but now we with these proposed cuts we are denying adults the right to further their education or advancement in life
Our voice does matter. We need to stand up for our students and stand up for our schools. California held a special election ballot on May 19, 2009. All but one of the six proposition or initiatives in this election were denied. Because of these propositions failing, our schools will face more cuts. If everyone educates themselves on how to take a stand, we can begin to reform our education crisis.
Where do we stand now The proposed budget cuts still stand but the Governor continues to deny all proposals. The delay of fixing this crisis and the state of limbo is only hurting the state more. There needs to be a permanent decision from legislature and the Governor as to where these deep cuts will take place. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger now wants to eliminate the states Proposition 98. Proposition 98 basically provides grades K-14 with a guarantee funding source that would grow with each year. The proposistion reflects upon the economy and the growing number of students. The guaranteed funding is provided through a combination of the states general funds and local property taxes.
According to Robin Swanson, The education coalition ???suspending proposition 98 would further drain basic resources from schools that have already been forced to increase class sizes, cut programs critical to students learning, cancel bus routes and eliminate music and art classes.
Regardless of individual beliefs or opinions on this recently passed State Budget; it is essential for everyone to educate themselves on their states Public Educational System. Educating ourselves is a given right and to we need to know how our money is managed and exactly how it reaches our schools. Education is power. In order for the next generation to thrive and the advancement of people today, both elements are needed. In closing the schools Chief Jack??™ O Connel gets right to the point of the reality of this crisis. ???The pain of these cuts will interrupt our progress in improving student achievement. We should be talking about doing what it takes to educate students for the workforce, with 21 century skills.???
Some of the things we can do to stand up and protect our next??™s generation??™s level and quality of education are call local assembly members, Senator or Governor. Let then know it is imperative that they protect funding for education and critical services for children and families. Send letters to local newspapers and explain how local schools are affected by the statewide cuts to education. Find local legislators and contact them by phone or letter. Most letters and petitions can be signed or accessed online. Five minutes from everyone can be a start to making a difference. All the contact information can be found on www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. To contact the Governor you can go to www.gov.ca.gov/interact#contact . Become an advocate for a higher quality education.
In closing the schools Chief Jack??™ O Connel gets right to the point of the reality of this crisis. ???The pain of these cuts will interrupt our progress in improving student achievement. We should be talking about doing what it takes to educate students for the workforce, with 21 century skills.???
One thing that everyone should agree on Nation wide is that in order to protect the economic viability it is imperative that we help our students meet their full potential, close the achievement gaps and make sure that all students are prepared to survive in the global economy. Without properly educating our children and adults how will individuals thrive in this forever changing and advancing global economy
What ever one??™s personal beliefs and opinions are we should all stand up and make a difference. Our next generation??™s and today??™s future depends on it. Let??™s continue down the path of progression, not regression. Remember, our voices and opinions really do matter.
Author, Daniel B. Wood (published March 21, 2008 edition)
Title: California??™s Fiscal Crisis Hits Schools. Retrieved May 3rd 2009 from
Author, Column Goble Trotter (published July 18, 2008)
Title: California??™s failing Education System Goes beyond the School Yard
Retrieved Information: May 16, 2009 from http://marin-forum.com
Author, Pam Brady: President of California PTA. (Published May 2nd
Speech given at State PTA Convention) Title: Every Child, One Voice
Retrieved information: May 2nd 2009 from convention and www.capta.org
Organization name: California??™s Teacher Association
Title (Sample School Board Resolution in Support of Propositions 1A ??“ 1F)
Retrieved information May 10, 2009 from www.cta.org/home.aspv
National Public Radio (May 28, 2003) Analysis-California??™s Budget crunch many have a negative affect on Community Colleges (10:00 ??“ 11:00) (Broadcast Transcript) Retrieved June 19th, 2009 from Opposing Viewpoints resource center. Gale Apollo Library
No gold in state. (2009, May 23). Economist, Retrieved June 19, 2009 from Academic Search Complete dereference list database.
Fimrite, Peter: Beyond the Scores: The state of California Schools: San Francisco Chronicle. (Sept 3, 2002). A12. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Apollo Library, June 19, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009 from
htpp//www.latimes.com/news/local.com: article California??™s Colleges affected budget cuts (July 31, 2009) Information retrieved August 4, 2009
www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov Retrieved information May 10, 2009
www.ucop.edu/acadinit/masterplan/master_planz.pdf Retrieved Information
Visuals and clipart retrieved from www.msn.com/images : Information retrieved on July 18, 2009