Gov­er­nor re­veals plan to ad­dress teacher short­age and fix high-poverty schools

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By John Fen­ster­wald EdSource

Gov. Gavin New­som wants to en­tice thou­sands of new teach­ers into the class­room, con­cen­trate school im­prove­ment in the most im­pov­er­ished neigh­bor­hoods and use com­pet­i­tive grants to chal­lenge districts to form part­ner­ships and de­velop best prac­tices to raise achieve­ment.

He out­lined his ideas for ad­dress­ing the teacher short­age and stepping up school im­prove­ment in an 85-page doc­u­ment his ad­min­is­tra­tion re­leased late last month. The “om­nibus ed­u­ca­tion trailer bill” of­fers the first look at how he plans to spend more than $1.5 bil­lion in his 2020-21 K-12 bud­get.

New­som is propos­ing the big­gest in­vest­ment in staff de­vel­op­ment since the $1.25 bil­lion that for­mer Gov. Jerry Brown pro­vided districts for train­ing and ma­te­ri­als in 2013-14 to im­ple­ment the Com­mon Core stan­dards. It is the most pro­posed for new pro­grams since the $500 mil­lion Brown put to­ward the short-lived Ca­reer Path­ways Trust.

Bud­get hear­ings in the Leg­is­la­ture may elicit more de­tails.

Ad­min­is­ter­ing agen­cies will write the rules and cri­te­ria for dis­tribut­ing the fund­ing af­ter the pro­grams are ap­proved. New­som will get push­back from some leg­is­la­tors and ed­u­ca­tion groups who will ar­gue the state should be putting less money into new pro­grams, like the $300 mil­lion pro­posed for com­mu­nity schools, and more into the main source of districts’ gen­eral spend­ing, the Lo­cal Con­trol Fund­ing Formula. It’s get­ting the min­i­mum 2.3 per­cent cost-of-liv­ing in­crease — not enough, by the Leg­isla­tive An­a­lyst’s Of­fice’s cal­cu­la­tions, to cover ris­ing pen­sion, em­ployee health care and spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ex­penses.

Here are some themes that emerge from the trailer bill:

• Although the bulk of the pro­grams would be im­ple­mented through one-time fund­ing, many of the grants in the pro­gram would be for four years, long enough to be­gin to judge their suc­cess and weather a po­ten­tial re­ces­sion.

• Some of the pro­grams for re­cruit­ing and train­ing new teach­ers and ad­dress­ing teacher short­ages date back to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gov. Gray Davis and were picked up by Brown and now by New­som on a much larger scale. State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Pres­i­dent Linda Dar­lingHam­mond has cham­pi­oned the pro­grams, par­tic­u­larly teacher res­i­den­cies.

• But New­som is chart­ing a new ap­proach to fix­ing low-per­form­ing schools. In­stead of dol­ing out dol­lars uni­formly per stu­dent through county of­fices of ed­u­ca­tion, as some had spec­u­lated would be his ap­proach, com­pet­i­tive grants would de­ter­mine in most cases which districts and char­ter schools get teacher train­ing grants and money to fix low-per­form­ing schools. In some cases, grants propos­ing con­sor­tiums and part­ner­ships with coun­ties, uni­ver­si­ties and non­prof­its may get pri­or­ity.

• This process would not an­swer the ques­tion of how the state will pro­vide as­sis­tance for strug­gling, poorly man­aged districts that don’t ap­ply or win fund­ing and how this new sys­tem would mesh with the limited sys­tem we have now. Cur­rently, county of­fices re­ceive short-term fund­ing to work with hun­dreds of districts with low­per­form­ing stu­dent groups. But those districts could un­der­per­form for years be­fore state law re­quires fur­ther help, and no ad­di­tional fund­ing would be ear­marked for this work.

• New­som is fo­cus­ing on the most im­pov­er­ished, strug­gling schools and districts — those where more than 90 per­cent of stu­dents qual­ify for the free lunch pro­gram. Sev­eral pro­grams, such as $300 mil­lion for com­mu­nity schools, would tar­get them ex­clu­sively.

• New­som would grant more au­thor­ity to the Cal­i­for­nia Col­lab­o­ra­tive for Ed­u­ca­tional Ex­cel­lence, the state agency led by Tom Armelino, the for­mer long­time Shasta County su­per­in­ten­dent, with a cur­rent staff of only 15. It would ad­min­is­ter the $300 mil­lion Op­por­tu­nity Grants, the main fund­ing for fix­ing low-per­form­ing schools and districts — cre­at­ing un­cer­tainty about the role of county of­fices of ed­u­ca­tion. Brown and the Leg­is­la­ture es­tab­lished the col­lab­o­ra­tive in 2013 in part be­cause the gov­er­nor wasn’t con­fi­dent that the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s bu­reau­cracy could pivot to guide school im­prove­ment un­der the state’s new guiding prin­ci­ple of lo­cal con­trol. New­som is propos­ing to boost the col­lab­o­ra­tive’s small bud­get by $18 mil­lion, with mil­lions more to ad­min­is­ter pro­posed pro­grams and di­rectly pro­vide ser­vices. He’s count­ing on the col­lab­o­ra­tive to have the chops to han­dle a heap of new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.