Sacramento is embroiled in a nasty feud over a familiar subject – school accountability. The 2013 Local Control Funding Formula hopes to close the achievement gap between poor and English Language Learners (ELLs) and students whose families are more affluent. Assembly member Shirley Weber leads the charge for reform, and introduced AB 2548 to help meet her goals.
(click on graphic to enlarge form source site)
As in California, among English language learners
throughout the U.S.,Spanish is the first language
The age-old argument over accountability pits civil rights leaders, and most Assembly Democrats, against the California Teachers Association. The lone holdout to Weber’s bill is the Committee on Education’s chair, Patrick O’ Donnell.
Understandably, teachers are reluctant to adopt any measure that might lead to a poor evaluation because of their students’ failure to meet standards. Writing as a former California teacher with two decades of classroom experience, I can confirm that many students need a more nurturing home environment and intense remedial education before they can reasonably be expected to perform at grade level. California’s education problem isn’t always bad teachers or bad schools, but more frequently it’s tied to inadequately prepared students.
More to the point, if the Department of Education is so determined to close the gap between ELLs and other students, then I propose the logical solution of Sacramento using its considerable clout to lobby to minimize non-English speaking enrollees. ELLs have overwhelmed school districts and accelerated California’s plunge from one of the best public school systems in the mid-1960s to one of the worst. This, of course, would involve California intervening in federal immigration policies, unthinkable under the Obama and Brown administrations.
Today, California’s K-12 system has more than 1.4 million students, the majority Hispanic, who are classified as non-English speaking, about 22 percent of the 6.2 million 2014-2015 total enrollment. In 2010-2011, K-12 ELL enrollment was slightly over one million. Educating the world is a costly venture. Assuming an average $9,200 per pupil cost, ELLs cost California taxpayers about $13 billion annually.
Not that it’s likely to improve anything, but Weber’s bill passed committee 5-0 with O’Donnell abstaining. Again, speaking from personal experience, teachers cannot be expected to provide a quality education to all of their students when a large percentage of the classroom isn’t English-proficient.
Read more here about how over-immigration and overpopulation have adversely affected California’s teachers and their ability to educate students in a way that will prepare them for college, and the labor force.