There is no getting around the importance of learning how to read if students are going to succeed. Yet Sacramento is once again trying to eliminate a key assessment that helps parents and teachers know how well kids are reading in the early grades – critical information to get kids the help they need before it’s too late.
Send a letter to members of the Senate Education Committee to oppose SB 247 – legislation that denies parents and teachers vital early and objective information on student progress. Tell them educators and parents need this information to ensure all children get the help they need to learn to read.
California voters just passed Proposition 30 on the promise that it would preserve education opportunity for all of California’s kids. But now, some of the same people who sold voters the tax increase say we can’t afford to determine if second graders are reading at grade level.
That’s penny wise and pound foolish. Research shows that incarcerated juveniles and adults are overwhelmingly more illiterate than the general population. Local school boards, superintendents and teachers report that if the state doesn’t continue to provide this critical tool, they’ll have to try and buy it from a vendor. And that money will come out of other parts of their school budget. Worse, some children may not get properly assessed and will fall through the cracks.
Send a letter to members of the Senate Education Committee to protect this tool. Keeping kids on track with key academic skills early pays dividends in the years to come. A sample letter is provided and it will take only a few moments of your time to send. Click here to send your message.
Even if you’re fortunate enough not to have had the personal demeaning experience, you’ve heard of bullies stealing kids’ lunch money from weaker children on the playground. Well, bureaucrats across the state have taken this tactic to scale, succumbing to budget gimmicks from Sacramento!
A new report from the Senate Office of Oversight reveals that almost $200 million of lunch money has been stolen from some of California’s poorest kids. One state official described the situation as, "literally taking food out of the mouths of kids."
Take action to stop this! Tell your legislators and the state department of education to protect kids’ lunch money. The state needs to pay back the $8 billion in deferrals owed to schools, and do a better job of ensuring kids get the nutritious meals they need. A sample letter is provided and it will take only a few seconds to send. Click here to send your message today!
It’s no secret that California schools hit hard financial times over the past few years resulting in shrinking cash reserves. And it was made worse by Sacramento politicians deferring money owed to schools to pay for other government programs. We warned this unconstitutional shell game would have real consequences in the classroom. Now we know. One of the Legislature’s own investigativwe arms reports, “district officials acknowledge that, with rapidly shrinking reserves, they were searching for ways to relieve pressure on the [school district] general fund.”
That’s no excuse to let kids go hungry. When school districts raid kids’ lunch money to cover other costs, it illuminates
how Sacramento budget gimmicks have real world consequences—on the state’s poorest children.
Send a letter to your legislators to ask them to budget with integrity and payback the $8 billion annually the state continues to take from schools through cash deferrals. This money is being stolen from kids and teachers to fund the rest of state government.
State deferrals suck billions of dollars out of California classrooms each year. Those are existing tax dollars, constitutionally guaranteed to schools, that are instead used to secretly prop up other government spending that no one can account for. The Governor deserves credit for his efforts to reduce deferrals by $2.2 billion in the current budget and proposing an additional $1.8 billion reduction in 2013-14. But that would still leave our schools over $5 billion short every year after that!
Tell the Governor and your legislators our schools can’t afford this ongoing budget gimmick. Send your letter today with a few easy clicks.
Why does it matter?
Deferrals, drastically delayed payments from the state, force schools in the poorest neighborhoods to get cash loans to just keep their doors open. And because the state is now deferring payments every year, schools, and the kids enrolled in the year they were shortchanged, effectively never get back all of the money they were actually owed. Interest payments alone have wasted over $100 million education dollars annually in recent years.
Even the Governor‘s Budget admits it: “During the economic downturn, the state deferred payments to schools, therefore, schools received approximately 20 percent of their funds a year later than they spent them. Some school districts were able to borrow to manage these deferrals, while others had to implement deferrals as cuts. Districts that were able to borrow incurred substantial interest costs, which led to dollars taken out of the classroom.”
But this practice still continues going forward in the 2013-14 Budget Plan!
Because of this, schools in the poorest neighborhoods must continue to survive with fewer staff, fewer library hours and fewer sports, art, music and after-school programs, even as more wealthy neighborhoods get their school money delivered on time. This has to stop.
Action is necessary to ensure that inequities in deferral amounts don't threaten our children's right to an equal education. The disparities between districts must be addressed, regardless of whether or not the state takes small steps to decrease the total amount of money deferred.
Send a letter to urge the Governor and your legislators to take serious steps to eliminate this problem plaguing our schools, and to fix the biased inequities in the meantime.
Parents believe the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is ignoring California law at the expense of their children. The law is simple -- evaluation of adults employed to educate students must include information on how well children are actually doing toward meeting grade level standards. And if the responsible staff is struggling, the law requires the district to provide help to those adults so they can be more effective for kids.
This past fall, a group of courageous parents, fed up with the district and school bureaucrats assigning subpar staff to classrooms in their neighborhoods based on the assumption that parents wouldn't know what's going on, decided to sue the district to force it to follow the law. And thanks to that brave push a trial is set for this June.
The parents believe the district and the kids can no longer afford willful failure to follow the law. At a time when the district is trying to fix a $500 million annual budget deficit, it is forfeiting millions of dollars available from Sacramento for the very purpose of conducting effective performance evaluations.
If you agree that the district should follow the law, take action now- tell the school board to do what's right for kids. Send a letter today to support the parents' effort and encourage LAUSD to finally include student achievement in the evaluations of principals and teachers, and to provide help to those that are struggling.