Legislature deep-sixes Gov. Brown’s education ‘reform’

Legislature deep-sixes Gov. Brown’s education ‘reform’

June 19, 2012

By Lance T. Izumi

Last week, I wrote about Governor Jerry Brown’s weighted-student-formula proposal, which attached a base state-funding amount plus various supplemental amounts to individual students that would then be collected by school districts.  The plan sought to increase funding flexibility for school districts, which now face an array of earmarked categorical programs that force districts to spend a significant percentage of their funding on state-mandated priorities.

Brown’s fellow Democrats in the Legislature, however, couldn’t stomach the governor’s mild reform of the funding process and eliminated weighted-student-formula from the Legislature’s budget package that came out at the end of the week.

An aide to Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said the Legislature’s action was taken because of concerns that, while Brown’s plan gave spending flexibility for districts, it did not contain accountability for results.  This criticism has some merit.  Brown’s original budget proposal in January didn’t contain any specific accountability provisions, although Brown had indicated that he planned to add a performance component to his weighted-student-formula plan sometime in the future.  Democratic legislative leaders, however, missed the more important problem with Brown’s plan.

As I pointed out, the real problem with Brown’s plan is its failure to make funding truly portable with students.  Brown sent funding to school districts, instead of backpacking dollars with students so that they could take funding to the individual school, public or private, of their choice.  Giving students and their parents this choice through vouchers or other similar portable-funding options would create incentives for all schools to improve their performance in order attract education consumers.

In their critique of Brown’s plan, Democratic legislative leaders are as guilty as the governor in failing to recognize the absence in the public school system of any significant market incentive to improve its own performance.  This blind spot prevents lawmakers from proposing a better alternative to Brown’s proposal.  The public is therefore left with a warmed-over status quo.

— Lance T. Izumi is Koret senior fellow and senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, CalWatchDog.com’s parent think tank.  He is the author of Obama’s Education Takeover (Encounter Books, 2012).


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  1. Rob McMillin
    Rob McMillin 19 June, 2012, 14:11

    The proposal is elitism masquerading as populism. No matter what happens, the good districts (with political pull) will still get first cut at funds. LAUSD and those with more numbers (but less concentrated political power) will be last.

    Reply this comment
  2. Burrito Bro
    Burrito Bro 19 June, 2012, 14:39

    Whoa! That sounds awful. education gave us the first minority president.

    Reply this comment
  3. us citizen
    us citizen 19 June, 2012, 14:58

    Throwing more money at the schools is not the answer. Getting rid of unnecessary classes…..like how to get along with your pet……being sarcastic here, getting back to the basics, not insuring that you have a teaching job or salary for the rest of your life…….ya know, working like normal people with no guarantees, getting rid of all illegals leaching off the system, are the answers.

    This state seems to think it has a money tree and its the tax payers.

    Reply this comment
  4. us citizen
    us citizen 19 June, 2012, 15:00

    “education gave us the first minority president”, boy we are in trouble then, aren’t we? Because obviously this person didn’t learn that he can not be in total control of the federal govt and that he has to go through channels.

    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 19 June, 2012, 16:28

    This state is going under, nothing we can do will prevent the RAGWUS from drowning our state debt. The truth is it has already happened, only the politicians have not yet been called out by the banks! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 19 June, 2012, 21:03

    Brown is too tight! The legislature will prevail.

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 June, 2012, 22:42

    Donk you are so right!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 20 June, 2012, 08:21

    What does ragwis mean????

    Reply this comment
  9. Queeg
    Queeg 20 June, 2012, 08:54

    Fear of authority…banks, wall street, firemen and police, government workers. paranoia of worst sort.

    Reply this comment
  10. Just_The_Facts_Maam
    Just_The_Facts_Maam 20 June, 2012, 12:35

    RAGWUS is some sort of disparaging term for anyone who is any tiny little bit better off than Donkey. Donkey wants anyone who is any tiny little bit better off to be a tiny little bit worse off than Donkey so he can feel a tiny little bit better off about himself. He will never see that a rising tide lifts all boats, even his little dinghy.

    Reply this comment
  11. Queeg
    Queeg 20 June, 2012, 14:51

    There must be a really dark, dingy cubicle his diatribes are penned….tried to cheer him up…to no avail.

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 June, 2012, 17:28

    He will never see that a rising tide lifts all boats, even his little dinghy.

    Rising Tide??????? Put the bong down, it is a pension tsunami capsizing the state.

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  13. Donkey
    Donkey 20 June, 2012, 20:49

    Come on Ted, you know the meaning of RAGWUS and the evil it created in your heart. 😉

    Reply this comment
  14. Donkey
    Donkey 20 June, 2012, 20:50

    JTFM, I am bigger than you in every way! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 June, 2012, 23:40

    Donk smacking down the mama~

    Reply this comment

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