California’s schools are in dire need of help. More than one in five children in California live in poverty, and nearly half of all K–12 students participate in the federal free and reduced-price meal programs provided to students from low-income families. In addition, close to one quarter of California’s K–12 students are English learners who need more support in their education.
Over and over again, California Standards Test results show that students from low-income backgrounds and English learners have lower test scores, lower graduation rates, and are the least eligible for college admissions, revealing a great achievement gap between students in California based on income level and English proficiency. Although it’s clear that poor students and English learners need more support and resources in order to close that gap, as the Getting Down to Facts studies and the Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence have acknowledged, their needs have been unmet for decades. In fact, similar sized school districts with similar student demographics receive widely varying amounts of state support for no rational reason.
Moving to a weighted student formula is the right thing to do for all of California’s students! Members of the California Legislature must work with the Governor and other stakeholders – including parents, students, and their families – to create a new, more equitable school funding formula for all students THIS YEAR. Poor students and English learners cannot wait!