Friday, July 2, 2010

Senator Steinberg, schools and schools budgets

 Sacramento Senator Darrell Steinberg  has authored and promoted SB 1285 that changes seniority rules for the lay off of teachers.  He  seems to listening to Ed Voice and the corporations promoting the wrong assumption that seniority causes problems in schools.  Lets see.  There are low performing schools – most of them in poverty neighborhoods.  There are high performing schools – most of them in middle class neighborhoods.  They both have the same seniority system.  Seniority is not the problem – poverty is. ( See prior posts on this).
Legislators  should provide  every student a high quality education by providing the adequate funding that schools need.  California fails at this.  We rank 46th. out 50 states in per public  spending.  ( See the excellent new report by the California Budget Project, Race to the Bottom http://www.cbp.org/) That is a legislative decision. Adequate funding would allow schools to keep libraries open; hire back laid-off teachers, nurses, and counselors; and reduce class sizes to provide students with needed attention.

Senator Steinberg claims in a letter to constituents this week, “Since I became leader of the Senate eighteen months ago, we have been able to increase Proposition 98 funding by  $1.6 Billion.  This claim is puzzling. 
According to EdSource, California has reduced Prop. 98 funding  from 50.3 billion to 31.2 billion dollars during this period.  I called the Senator’s office for clarification.  I was transferred twice and then promised that I would get a call back from the press office.  That was Tues.  Perhaps some reader can explain  these numbers.  I can’t. Senator Steinberg is up for re-election this year. 

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