California school districts are in the process of drafting plans detailing how they intend to spend state education dollars and, so far, most of the documents are dense with education jargon, acronyms and legalese. And in many cases, they don’t provide a clear picture of how districts will use state funds to improve the academic performance of “high-needs” students.
The Local Control Funding Formula law promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown and approved last summer by the state Legislature is radically revising California’s school financing system. It requires districts to file a Local Control and Accountability Plan by July 1 of this year, and publish a draft plan ahead of that date so that parents, teachers and others at the local level can give their input.
Only a tiny fraction of the nearly 1,000 districts in the state have issued their draft plans. But as the plans are released, they are raising concerns about how useful they will be to parents and other community representatives trying to understand how funds will be spent, including money that is supposed to be targeted at high-needs students – low-income students, English learners and foster children.
The accountability plans are at the heart of Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to give local school districts more decision-making powers – and to encourage parents to get involved as well.
“The plans are useful in pushing superintendents and schools boards to articulate clear goals, but then they rapidly descend into the minutiae and the weeds, which makes these documents very hard to decipher,” said Bruce Fuller, professor of education at UC Berkeley.
The plans end up being “so detailed and gangly that they are hard for the average citizen to make sense of,” said Fuller, who is co-director of Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, a joint research and policy center sponsored by UC Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Draft accountability plans raise concerns about usefulness to parents | EdSource Today: