Three short weeks ago I wrote about a couple of vans full of high school and college students, organized by Students for Education Reform, overnighting it to Sacramento to "storm" the capitol and lobby for Governor Jerry Brown's Local Control Funding Formula. Yesterday, some of these same students flanked Governor Jerry Brown as he signed the bill into law. Should you be excited? Well, if you have kids, the answer is yes. If you don't have kids, the answer is still yes (Did you think otherwise?).
We all want to and deserve to live in an educated world and our world starts here at home in California. The LCFF plan would "increase flexibility and accountability at the local level so those closest to the students can make the decisions, reduce state bureaucracy, and ensure that student needs drive the allocation of resources." Helping local districts best direct money to student needs. Sounds like a great idea, right?
Here's another awesome benefit: "Schools would be transitioned to the Formula using Proposition 98 growth funding. No schools will receive less funding than their 2012-13 funding level as a result of the Formula. Over the first five years of formula implementation, per student funding on a statewide basis is projected to increase by more than $2,700." Per. Pupil. Spending. (Here, read up on it. California's in the middle of the pack when it comes to per pupil spending, so yay for us not sucking completely. But boo for us not being the best, or at least in the top 10.)
As the article pointed out, property taxes are one of the primary funding sources for education among states. States with higher property taxes and equitable funding distribution have the best outcomes for students. That's why LCFF is so important. It acts to balance the negative effects of Proposition 13, which is awesome for property owners but horrific for students. We created isolated pockets of privileged education and wastelands of urban school ghettos where, as I noted previously, students are out to survive rather than thrive.
LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy said this is “probably the most important education public policy decision in 40 years," according to LA School Report. I have to agree.
So cheers to you, Students for Education Reform, Fair Share 4 Kids, Governor Jerry Brown, stormtrooper students who came to the Capitol to make a difference, and most importantly, cheers to our state's students, current and future, who may indeed have a chance to thrive regardless of where they're born.