September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

School spending falls further behind rest of nation

Posted: Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Author: Louis Freedberg

California continues to fall behind other states when it comes to school funding.

Just how far? California now ranks 44th in how much it spends on its students – or $2,546 less than the average spent in the rest of the United States. That’s the lowest it has been in 40 years compared to other states, in a depressing report from the California Budget Project.

The report calculates that just to bring California to the national average would require an extra $15.4 billion in spending – an increase of 29.5 percent. Those numbers underscore the impossibility of California catching up to the rest of the nation within any reasonable time period – if ever.

In fact, if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has his way, California will fall even further behind the rest of the nation during the coming fiscal year.

Schwarzenegger is proposing to cut the basic amount school districts get for every student in attendance to $7,417, an 11 percent drop from $8,423 just two years ago (2008-09), according to a report by the legislative analyst’s office.

The report also provides some ammuniton for those pushing back against GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s assertion that 40 percent of education dollars don’t make it into the classroom. The implication is that the funds are going to pay bureaucrats and other expenses extraneous to the educational process.

In fact, California has a lower proportion of administrators compared to all but three other states. According to the California Budget Project report, California schools average 358 students per administrator – far below the 216 students per administrator in the rest of the United States. California also spends a greater share of its education dollars on instruction and student services than do schools in the rest of the U.S. – 95.3 cents of every education dollar, compared to 93.8 cents in the rest of the United States.

By contrast, California spends 4.7 cents on each K-12 dollar on administration, food services and other expenses, while the rest of the country spends 6.2 cents on these same expenses.

In one arena, California has managed to find itself dead last in the nation: the number of librarians per K-12 student. California has one librarian for every 5,038 students – a ratio six times worse than the U.S. at a whole, which averages one librarian for every 809 students.

That was the ratio in 2007-08, the last year for which figures for librarians are available. As schools cut a range of school personnel even more deeply, even as California tries to motivate students to become literate, the state has nowhere further to fall, at least in rankings relative to other states.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.