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Weinberg: Extra money makes a huge difference in student outcomes

Steven Weinberg, a retired Oakland teacher and Education Report contributor, makes a case for the Proposition 30 tax initiative on the November ballot.

Steven WeinbergDoes providing schools with more money lead to improvements in student achievement?

The experience of Oakland middle schools over the last three years shows that it does.

Several years ago four Oakland middle schools with test scores in the lowest 20 percent of state schools received multiyear grants of $900 per student to reduce class sizes and fund other improvements. The grants were not given to all schools in the lowest 20 percent because the state wanted to be able to compare differences in improvement between those schools that received the extra money and those that did not.

After three years the differences in Oakland’s middle schools are dramatic. Continue Reading

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California’s budget, “day of reckoning”

Want to see the governor’s latest proposal for balancing the state’s budget, despite ballooning deficit projections?

You’ll find the May Revise summary here. The education proposal begins on page 33.

If you’d rather read a long and incredibly comprehensive first-day news article about the details of the proposal, check out  Josh Richman’s piece (to which a number of reporters, including me, contributed) here.

Gov. Jerry Brown says that if the November tax initiative doesn’t pass, funding for schools and community colleges will be automatically cut by $5.5 billion — equivalent to three weeks of instruction. The May budget revision assumes those tax hikes will go through, though.

The plan includes a whopping $453 million cut to state-funded child care services.

Brown also proposes a simpler funding formula for schools, as I noted recently. Schools with higher-needs students would receive more money, and the state would no longer require certain funding streams to be spent on particular programs.

What jumps out at you from reading the proposal and the news coverage?