How’s Prop 98 education money being spent?…
Claire Yan] 12/27/05
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have thought he was extending
the olive branch when he called for immediate repayment
of $1.67 billion in Proposition
98 education funding and showered an additional $4 billion increase on
K-12 education in his 2006-2007 budget. But the governor should know by
now that no amount of spending is ever enough for those who believe money
can solve every problem in education. Take the California Teachers Association
(CTA), for example.
Xiaochin Claire Yan
Claire Yan is a Policy Fellow in Education Studies
at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco.[Yan index]
has proposed the largest funding increase in the state history,
bringing per-pupil spending to nearly $11,000. K-12 spending
by the state is now $49 billion, skyrocketing 16 percent in
just the last two years. Yet CTA president Barbara Kerr says
this is not enough. She claims the governor is still falling
short of fully funding our schools. California State Assembly
Speaker Fabian Nunez says it’s a “step forward,
but only one slice of the pie.” One very large slice
of the pie. Currently education spending takes up about half
of the state budget.
say they will demand even more money once the budget is submitted
to the legislature. Superintendent of public instruction Jack
O’Connell, state treasurer Phil Angelides and Parent-Teacher
Association president Brenda Davis wasted no time criticizing
the governor’s budget at a joint conference, saying it “shortchanges
are being shortchanged, but not by a lack of funding. They
are shortchanged by failing schools that year after year promote
students who can barely read. They are also shortchanged by
an education establishment whose only response to dismal student
achievement and a high dropout rate is to lower standards,
abolish exams, and offer excuses.
sees the recent increases as the beginning of a conversation
that will end with more funding for public schools. Angelides
goaded the governor by saying that state “can do better.” Perhaps
the governor can do better. But not by spending more money.
is more important than education because how we prepare our
children today will shape California tomorrow,” said
Governor Schwarzenegger in his State of the State address.
Yet his proposed torrent of new funding came with no major
reforms attached. The funding includes no demands that more
of our teachers be highly qualified, for more fiscally responsible
school districts, for a more rigorous curriculum based on high
standards, and for better tracking of student progress. In
short, there was no demand that we get better results for our
money in the form of high student achievement, graduation rates,
and SAT scores.
a beating in the special election, and facing a re-election
bid just ten month away, the governor is naturally desperate
to make peace with the unions and the legislature. But if there’s
any lesson he should learn from his time in office so far,
it’s that he should not try to win the “who can
spend more” game. Not only would he lose, he would squander
the last of his principles and miss the point completely.
question is how the money is spent, not how much. CRO