ICYMI: Fox & Hounds: "State Education Funding Driven by Politics Not Children's Needs"

NOTE: Legislative Republicans warned Governor Newsom that the state budget passed in June is hurting families and students in growing public schools and charter schools. Click here to read the press release and letter delivered to the Governor.

By Jeff Rice  (Founder/Director of the Association of Personalized Learning Schools & Services (APLUS+)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

When it comes to education funding this year you need to know that it’s not about the children. It’s about politics.

Nothing proves that more than the recent proposal by Governor Newsom’s Department of Finance (DOF) that would deny students who want to attend personalized learning public charter schools the same funding that students attending traditional and classroom-based charter schools receive.

This new “policy” is wrong at its core, not only because it violates the long-held policy that “funding should follow the student,” but it is morally wrong to punish students simply because they have chosen a different learning path.

Governor Newsom’s DOF should consider the children whose education will be shortchanged. …

The DOF proposal is a failure because it is based in the political fear of upending the status quo: the state’s traditional brick-and-mortar schools. This politically motivated rationale is rooted in the fear that if students and their parents choose a personalized learning approach and stay in that model it could impact future funding for traditional schools.

 … The DOF proposal does not consider the socioeconomic status, demographics, educational abilities or life circumstances of the students who attend personalized learning public charter schools. It fails to consider the large number of students who attend these schools because they have special needs, are homeless, suffer from mental health challenges, are several grade levels behind or are pregnant teens. And, it ignores the fact that some students who did not do well in traditional public schools perform much better in a personalized learning environment.

Finally, consider the irony in Governor Newsom’s DOF proposal. … their proposal excludes growth funding for the one segment of public schools that have a proven track record of successfully providing quality education through both distance learning and alternative settings.

This flies in the face of Governor Newsom’s own statement to the Legislature when signing SB 98, requesting that they find a “targeted solution” to help displaced families subject to the cap. Instead, the DOF proposal is a targeted attack solely against non-classroom based charter schools which seamlessly continued teaching tens of thousands of students amidst the COVID crisis throughout the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. ….

The Legislature has only one week to determine whether it is willing to let Governor Newsom’s DOF impose discriminatory educational policies or whether they will require that all public schoolchildren be treated fairly and reject the DOF proposal. We trust they will put the needs of their very youngest constituents over politics and will make the right decision for the people of California.

Click here to read the full Op-ed in Fox & Hounds.