Monday, November 19, 2012

Beyond Proposition 30: California’s education future | EdSource Today

Beyond Proposition 30: California’s education future | EdSource Today:

Louis Freedberg
Louis Freedberg
The passage of Proposition 30 represents a major victory for schools – and for Gov. Jerry Brown. Barring a further erosion of state revenues, Prop. 30 should bring stability to school districts after five years of budget devastation. Yet Prop. 30, while representing the first major affirmation of the public’s support for schools in years, still leaves on the table a range of major education challenges. To meet all of them will cost the state much more than the approximately $3 billion that Prop. 30 is expected to provide in additional education spending.
Here are eight principal challenges:
1.  Bringing the state’s funding levels up to the U.S. average
Latest estimates rank California 46th in per capita spending compared to other states. Over the past decade, the gap between California spending per student and the national average has grown from $691 in 2001-02 to $2856 in 2010-11. According to the California Budget Project, just bringing California to the national average – let alone the highest-spending states like Massachusetts or New Jersey – would cost $17.3 billion, three times more than the amount raised by Prop. 30. The discrepancy raises a basic issue of fairness: Should California’s children be subjected to a less effective education than their peers in many others states just because they happened to be born here?
2.  Achieving funding equity among California school districts
Beyond California’s lagging behind other states, there are major discrepancies among school