Pressure mounts on Gov. Newsom to fix education funding for English learners

A scathing audit on school funding that found the state did not meet promises made six years ago to help English language learners, foster children and students from poor families sets up a 2020 test of the clout of the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers – and of the willingness of Gov. Gavin Newsom to take on the unions who were early backers of his successful 2018 candidacy. 

State Auditor Elaine Howle’s review focused on how school districts in San Diego, Oakland and Clovis had implemented the Local Control Funding Formula, which was adopted by the Legislature in 2013 at the behest of then-Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor and then-Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, were among several leaders who said the LCFF would be a game changer by getting additional assets to struggling students.

But Howle found instead that billions in extra funds the formula directed to districts with high percentages of English learners, foster kids and poor families had been used for general needs – including raises for teachers. She concluded there was little or no evidence that the LCFF had boosted these students’ performance.

“In general, we determined that the state’s approach [to Local Control] has not ensured that funding is benefiting students as intended,” Howle wrote.

Howle’s finding confirmed all the major criticisms of the formula that have been raised by education reformers and by civil rights lawyers who have repeatedly sued Los Angeles Unified over its treatment of poor minority students. 

Bill to track school funding couldn’t even get a hearing

But these groups have never gotten far with Local Control changes. Last spring, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, the San Diego Democrat who pushed for the audit, couldn’t even get Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, to hold a hearing on her bill to require disclosure of how LCFF dollars are being used.

Howle’s audit gives Weber new evidence to push for tracking such spending, and she has said fixing Local Control is her top priority in 2020. But O’Donnell, a former teacher who is close to the CTA and CFT, is unlikely to drop his opposition to tracking the funding.

A key question is likely to be what the governor does. While Newsom won the early endorsements of the two teacher unions, he spent the 2018 campaign telling editorial boards and the Los Angeles and Silicon Valley billionaires who back education reform that he too wanted to fix Local Control to ensure it helped struggling students and had proper accountability protections.

But any attempt to get school districts to stop spending LCFF dollars on teacher compensation – and on rapidly growing teacher pension costs – will go directly against the CTA and the CFT. They already see available school funding as inadequate and are both pushing for billions of dollars in tax hikes in two measures expected to be on the ballot in November 2020. They also won changes that will make it more difficult for charter schools to be approved or renewed using the argument that charters were diverting funding from regular public schools at a time when those schools are desperately underfunded. They are unlikely to accept the notion that the audit must be acted on.

Meanwhile, Newsom has so far used his political capital to advance an education reform that teachers unions also may question. But the reform – using metrics to track the performance of students throughout their K-12 journey – isn’t nearly as contentious as the state forcing many school districts to reorient their Local Control spending and stop using it for raises and pension bills.


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  1. SDVeteran
    SDVeteran 15 November, 2019, 16:24

    No surprises here!

    Reply this comment
    • Edward Ryan
      Edward Ryan 24 November, 2019, 22:12

      Los Angeles Crime Victim, Ed Ryan, wants Justice and End to Los Angeles Court Corruption. 11/24/19
      Attorney Mike Feuer’s Use of Corrupt Neighborhood Prosecutors that Protect LAPD Vigilantes By prosecuting Homeless Victims with False LSAPDS Police Reports Must Stop. by L.A City
      The Corruption is that not one LAPD Police report of any Arrested Homeless Person in Los Angeles says anything about the truth that LAPD Vigilante Harassment of homeless is on-going. Now the truth is out thanks to the “LAPD Crime-buster Vigilante” Scandal. Homeless are provoked by vigilante harassment and arrested when the fight back in self-defense. Why are all arrest reports of homeless out of the LAPD Topanga Station bereft of any mention of vigilante harassment when now we know vigilante harassment of Topanga Area homeless was endemic. The Los Angeles News Media, including the LA Times, is Bias against the Homeless and does not report this issue.
      Los Angeles court corruption victimized me to repeatedly from 2015 through 2018. Some of my arrests were in the San Fernando Valley and in the general in vicinity covered by the vigilantes belonging to; “Homeless Transient Encampments of Our West Valley” and “Crime-busters of West LAPD Hills/and Woodland Hills”. A full investigation by the uncooperating California Attorney General Becerra would prove Los Angeles court corruption. He now fails the people of Los Angeles allowing LAPD Crime-buster Vigilantes to Corrupt courts and Violate civil rights by doing violent crimes onto San Fernando Valley Homeless
      The best way to prove that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Moore is feeding the public lies and dis-information as a way to cover up the real crimes of corruption being done by this LAPD vigilante thing, is to take a close look at the criminal cases against any San Fernando Homeless defendant from the following category; Any and all San Fernando homeless, either arrested by any LAPD community police officer from LAPD Topanga Community Police Station, or any homeless defendant prosecuted by Attorney Karine Philips, the Deputy City Attorney and Neighborhood prosecutor for the Topanga area. Note that Neighborhood prosecutor Philips was found to be a member of “Homeless Transient Encampments of Our West Valley” and/or “Crime-busters of West LAPD Hills/and Woodland Hills”. Thus, the time frame of criminal cases examined should be the time period that the first vigilante Facebook group above existed.
      Police reports from Homeless arrest cases in the Topanga area since 2016 will show no reporting of any homeless harassment by vigilantes. At the same time, we know the LA City prosecutor covering Topanga, along with many of the SLO community police officers making the arrests were all members of the vigilante Facebook groups. Because of this corruption the police reports will not report the intense vigilante harassment onto the homeless, we now know to be true. The LAPD police that were used to convict and incarcerate will be false and misleading, being reports of random homeless defendants doing supposedly random crimes like threats, assault and vandalism.
      Using false and misleading police reports to convict and incarcerate is felony obstruction of justice. All those involved in making that happen are guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice. LAPD Chief Moore and other officials who downplay the LAPD’s culpability in this matter by labeling this Crime buster LAPD vigilante scandal as no more than LAPD officers using insulting language describing the homeless, are covering-up the corrupt reality. The truth is that this is much more than a few LAPD officers showing poor judgement by joining a secret LAPD vigilante Facebook group and engaging in politically incorrect banter about the homeless, No, it is the of wholesale corruption of the Los Angeles court system through ongoing and repeated acts of obstruction of justice. Ask Judge Kevin Brazile, the presiding justice of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Xavier Becerra covering up the Crime buster vigilante crimes of the LAPD Brass (Deputy Chief Kris Pitchers, a known member of the West valley vigilante Crime-buster group) reason why there has been no full investigation of this matter by the California Attorney General. No doubt the reason that LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti the LA and the LA City Attorney have all stayed silent to protect LAPD Chief Moore and Deputy Chief Pitcher chose to lie and cover up full scale court corruption by spreading dis-information. In the captured Facebook postings, Crime buster vigilante Eileen Barnette posted on the Facebook site criminal threats instructing other LAPD Vigilantes to “make it as uncomfortable as humanely possible. She suggests using flood lights, and firecrackers.” She likes horn honking.
      She thinks standing in the vicinity of a targeted homeless victim and taking pictures is a good tactic. She says there are “other things she wants to do but she does not want to get kicked off the Face book page. This is plain proof that these LAPD that LAPD vigilantes in San Fernando Valley are doing real crimes of violence and assault on the homeless. They do terror instilling stalking and assault and theft acts. To do this they have to do to get up close to targeted homeless and lay down poison or t snap picture.
      These are the same criminals who constantly stalked and harassed me when I was in the San Fernando Valley. When I fought back in self- defense, I was arrested by LAPD SLO members of this group or by other officers sent in by them to protect their identity. Full investigation of this vigilante corruption that has corrupted the LA courts with fraudulent police reports is needed. I was forced against my will to say nothing about the LAPD Gang Stalk vigilantes who attacked me on 12/29/16 in North Hollywood at 2 am. My Los Angeles County public Defender, Casey Kozel and Van Nuys Municipal Court Judge Mulcahy made it clear that any talk by me of the LAPD Gang Stalk vigilante attacked would be met by Mulcahy ordering me to under- go a six-month competency exam at Patten State Hospital. Corrupt Attorney Casey Kozel Filed paperwork with the court against my will. He then worked with corrupt LA county Jail to have a lady, Miss medina come to my cell and warn me to stay quiet about LAPD vigilantes in court or else be shut down in a mental hospital. This is Stasi like police state tactics. Attorney Kozel has now left the Los Angeles County defenders office, leaving 5 months ago when I went public. He now works in San Mateo. I did a six-month sentence because of this fraud. Los Angeles City Attorney Feuer needs to supply Ed Ryan with the identity of the corrupt Neighborhood Prosecutor, like Topanga neighborhood prosecutor, Karine Philips. This Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Prosecutor was corruptly was working with the LAPD vigilantes and used false LAPD Police reports. This unethical and corrupt attorney wrongfully convicted me on 1/23/17 in the Corrupt Van Nuys Court of Van Nuys Municipal Court Judge Mulcahy. I am now asking the California Judicial Council to Investigate the LAPD, the Los Angeles City Attorney and the California Attorney General for their corrupt acts either working with the LAPD Crime-buster vigilantes, or not investigating the corrupt acts of the LAPD Crime-buster Vigilantes.

      Reply this comment
    • edryan221
      edryan221 31 December, 2019, 11:46

      The Los Angeles Times Supports a “Police State” and Hates Homeless. Why No LA Times Reporters ask AG Becerra Why he is not doing Investigating LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante. LA Times Supporting LAPD Cover-up.

      Reply this comment
  2. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 15 November, 2019, 16:34

    Mo’ money is not going to help. More CHOICE — complete school choice via vouchers and/or tax credits — WILL help.

    But then, we all understand that the care and feeding of public servants is a higher priority than the future of minority children. Choice options in education are being shut down in the Golden State.

    Only the public employee labor unions and the KKK can be pleased by this trend.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 November, 2019, 16:49

    Not surprising….so so many needs, so little money, so many impoverished residents , so many unfilled promises, so many policy failures and various other blow outs……just too many so’s.

    ….agonizing watching the 40 million in California being worked/placated by the top 400,000….the 1% who hope somehow their globalist dream continues.

    Check the sturdiness of your guarded gates and functioning of your RING alarm systems doomers.

    Reply this comment
    • June
      June 15 November, 2019, 19:25

      Band aid solutions by politicians and self interests by unions will never “solve” the real problems facing our education system. This issue is just a subset.

      Reply this comment
  4. Sean
    Sean 16 November, 2019, 02:54

    The curse of the system, failure means funding.

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 16 November, 2019, 09:29


    The answer to California…..spend your way out!

    Reply this comment
  6. Edward Ryan
    Edward Ryan 29 November, 2019, 22:00

    It is the perception of Biden playing a corrupt role in allowing his son to parley access to Biden the “Vice President”. For Joe Biden, the unfortunate, but very real corruption perception concerns, are impossible to cleanly address. The Trump counter- impeachment accusations now cause the public exposure of Vice President Biden’s conflict is not going away. The perception of conflict is this; With Vice President Biden on point (at Presidents Obama direction)for America to assist in the Ukraine democratization, his son, Hunter, positioned himself to be over paid to grossed millions while sitting on the Board of a State owned Ukraine Natural gas company. It would be one thing if Hunter Biden could show even a scintilla of ability in the way of qualifications to help oversee a huge operation requiring experience and knowledge in the field of natural gas exploitation, but the fact is son Hunter has none, nothing, no significant knowledge of the industry, and to top it off, no ability to even speak the language. Even without Trump going “bellicose” public perception very easily sees the corruption of a ‘Pay for Play ‘ scam. Yes the perception, if not the reality is valid as their fare medkia clips of the Vice President smoozinmg with Ukrian gas players on the golf course whiler While son Hunter reaps over payment, loot that in the end analysis is Ukraine State funds be siphon Ukraine treasury under the transitional screen democratization. There is something wrong with the Picture of Vice {President Biden going to Ukraine at Obamas direction to ace things better while his son walks away with millions o in corrupt over payments of money that in reality belongs to the people ,like of Ukraine to that could have been used to make better Ukraine democratic institutions, All this done at a time of war with Russia certainly puts a muzzle on any potential Ukraine good government watchdogs who may , in the best of circumstances, spoke up to the Biden’s and rightly demand the return of all over[payment funds to the u8krain treasury. finance that Vice President Biden showed at the very least tacit approval. Worst yet. the Biden ‘father Son Team pay for play scheme toured globally with incidents in Romania and China. The Problem ids trump would have a field day spotlighting the multiple aspects of this ugly thing.


    Reply this comment
  7. Herman Young
    Herman Young 6 February, 2020, 17:06

    Teachers unions support open borders and sanctuary cities. There is no other way to keep their failing K-12 classrooms filled. They need hordes of new and willing students every single year.

    Every year kindergartens need to replacements those who exit the K-12 pipeline. Hundreds of thousands of new students to keep teachers hired and teacher union dues paid.

    Teachers unions are the direct beneficiaries of illegal migration into California – $17,000 kid and no accountability for results. $1000 a year going directly to the teachers unions.

    Follow the money. Cui bono – the California teachers unions, thanks to SCOTUS mandate all illegals get free K-12 education.

    The irony is K-12 under Prop 98 gets the same amount no matter how many students are in the system. No illegals means more money to spend every year on legal residents. But that means a huge decrease in the numbers of teachers that need to be hired, thus drastically reducing the amount of teacher union dues colleted.

    Calif K-12 is as corrupt as you can get and ranking #45 nationwide in student outcomes is criminal misuse of our tax dollars.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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