Lawmakers Demand Accountability for Funds Earmarked for Disadvantaged Students

CA Capitol

On January 6, 2020, Assemblywomen Shirley Weber of San Diego and Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton introduced Assembly Bills 1834 and 1835 as a result of the California State Audit that revealed that the funds earmarked for disadvantaged students for the purpose of closing the achievement gap under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) are not being used for these students as intended. Both bills will correct two deficiencies of the LCFF recommended by the audit.

Assembly Bill 1834 “would require the State Department of Education to develop, on or before January 1, 2021, a tracking mechanism for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to use to report the types of services on which they spend their supplemental and concentration grant funds. The bill would require each local educational agency, commencing July 1, 2021, to annually report to the department the types of services on which it spends its supplemental and concentration grant funds using the tracking mechanism developed by the department.”

Assembly Bill 1835 “would require each school district, county office of education, and charter school to identify unspent supplemental and concentration grant funds by annually reconciling and reporting to the department its estimated and actual spending of those moneys. The bill would require unspent funds identified pursuant to these provisions to continue to be required to be expended to increase and improve services for unduplicated pupils, and would require each local educational agency to report the amounts of unspent funds identified in its local control and accountability plan.”

Read more here.

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Obama Education Department to Spend $4.2 Million to Help States Create Teacher Assignment Equity Plans

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 required all states to file an equity plan that explains their teacher assignments in order to ensure that strong teachers are placed in struggling schools and in schools in high poverty areas. However, 2006 is the last year that most states have submitted their plans. According to Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education in a call with reporters on Monday, “We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance. We’re saying this is critical for us.”

$4.2 million will be spent by the Obama Education Department to provide  “technical assistance network” that will help states and districts develop and implement equity plans that highlight the causes of “their “excellent” teacher imbalance, craft a strategy to correct the problem and publicly report their progress”.

Steve Zimmer Calls on Billionaires to Help Kids Instead of Fighting for Control

It is very poignant that the funds that are usually spent on election campaigns are more than enough to effect drastic improvement on the quality of education for all K-16 students nationwide.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Millions on millions have been spent by billionaires to push through their agenda of privatization and to disrupt entire school districts, on the assumption that disruption is “creative.” No doubt, they are getting ready for the next elections, opening their wallets to anyone who promises to open more nonunion charters and to attack due process for teachers. In this statement, Steve Zimmer–who overcame a billionaire-funded candidate in his last election for the Los Angeles school board–calls for a truce. He asks the billionaires to work together with school leaders to make schools better for children, instead of squandering more millions to “win.” Win or lose, the problems for the kids remains the same. Why not collaborate and do what is best for them, which is not political but consists of meeting their needs for smaller class size, medical care, the arts, librarians, social workers, and the same kind of education…

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