California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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Page 14 of 75

California Compared to Other Key States What Adequately Funded Schools Look Like P R O J E C T R E S E A R C H E R S worked with panels of educators to determine the amount of funding needed ($25.6 billion) to ensure an "adequate education" for all California students. Among what they considered essential: • Ten additional days for teacher training • Class sizes capped at 22 in elementary and middle schools • Hire additional resource teachers for English learners and students with disabilities, specialists in math and English language arts, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists and librarians. These hires would help lower the student-teacher ratio to 15:1 in high school and 13:1 in elementary school • Provide more STEM and arts learning opportunities • Allow all 4-year-old children access to high-quality preschool or transitional kindergarten programs • Offer special education programs that fully integrate students with disabilities into a general classroom school graduation rates. For economically disadvantaged students in grades 8-11, the same $1,000 hike in per-student spending led to increases in math scores equivalent to seven months of learning. California's opportunity gap and lack of educational equity for low-income, English learner and high-needs students persist and require continued focus. e report found that schools serving high numbers of disadvantaged students have a more difficult time filling teaching positions and are impacted disproportion- ately by the statewide teacher shortage. The lack of bilingual teachers continues to be a problem as well, and impacts equity for English learners. "e critical teacher shortage in our state means that we con- tinue to have among the largest class sizes in the nation," Heins said. "Coupled with per-student funding levels in the bottom 25 percent nationally, it's apparent that California isn't providing the resources we need to adequately support student achievement. We can and must do better for our students and our future." e funding issues impact student achievement from the time kids are toddlers. According to the report, entering low-income kindergartners have lower school readiness levels than in other states, primarily due to lack of access to high-quality early educa- tion opportunities. While universal preschool is often touted as a priority for policymakers, California has yet to make the jump from idea to action, further widening the achievement gap. In addition, the lack of early intervention for preschoolers with special needs means that many incoming kindergartners are already behind before they even start school. The "Getting Down to Facts II" report and all 36 associated stud- ies are available at 13 D E C E M B E R 2 018 / J A N U A R Y 2 019

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