Teachable Moment

Teachable Moment


Education funding and the future of California schools

The California Teachers Association has long been one of the state’s most powerful political players. This year, the organization has thrown its weight behind Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise the state sales tax, in part to fund education. We sat down recently with CTA President Dean Vogel to discuss that support and other critical issues surrounding California schools.

Comstock’s: Briefly give me your perspective on the condition of California’s schools.
Vogel: Pedagogically, I think it’s interesting to note that, at a time when we’ve lost $20 billion in funding over the last four budget cycles, reading and math scores are still relatively flat. That really is a testament to the people working in the buildings because you shouldn’t be able to maintain that level at the same time resources continue to dwindle. Where you used to have class sizes ranging from one to 20 students in a kindergarten or first grade class, it’s now closer to 30 or 35. We used to be able to routinely expect comprehensive middle school and high school programs, meaning that, besides having strong language arts and math, you would also have the arts, pottery, drawing, painting, music, all of that. That whole thing is starting to narrow, a lot of it borne out of the budget. So, the short answer is that we’re in trouble. (click to continue reading)

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