Christy Smith: State must reaffirm local education control

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Since its inception, the U.S. Department of Education’s primary function has been to facilitate state and local education systems by providing financial support in strategic areas.

Given the current state of affairs in our nation’s capital, now is no time to stray from this doctrine.

The Constitution’s 10th Amendment empowers states to exert authority over local issues, with education serving as one of the more salient policy areas.

Our country’s founders, in establishing our public institutions, delegated control over schools to localities believing education should reflect a community’s distinct values.

As Secretary DeVos and President Trump use the federal budget in an attempt to encroach on state jurisdiction over education, our representatives in Sacramento must reaffirm their control over our schools and prevent out-of-touch billionaires in Washington from imposing their values on our students.

In the wake of these federal cuts, we will be forced to reevaluate budget priorities, preparing for a reduction in federal supplement and matching funds without sacrificing the programs that make California feel like home.

If a budget represents government priorities, we need new priorities.

As recently as 2015, California ranked 42nd in per-student-spending, with less than $11,000 per student. There is no justification for such funding levels, especially when compared to our state’s spending on prisons, which hovers at $45,000 per inmate.

Both individually and when taken in aggregate, these facts accentuate our irresponsible government spending in an area where our state shoulders responsibility.

When California fails to properly fund our schools, it’s our children who suffer. California students rank 45th in test scores, with only 28 percent scoring at or above proficiency in math and reading.

This is unacceptable. We should be a leader in education, nowhere near the bottom 10 percent statewide.  Coupled with federal level funding cuts, which are purely political, we are on an unsustainable course.

Unfortunately, it is no mystery why our schools rank so low in test scores; the top 10 states in education spending will allocate more than $7,000 more per student than California each year.

Over the course of a child’s education, this amounts to a significant deficit, forcing our students to play from behind as they compete for opportunities in an increasingly globalized world.

We can do better, and we must do so now. We will not be able to maintain the world’s 6th largest economy by maintaining the status quo.

Increasing our spending on education does not have to mean more taxes. It does not have to mean implementing undue regulations.

By redirecting outlays to align with our priorities, we can enhance our educational landscape without placing undue burdens on families, businesses or the budget.  Our local school districts do this every day, but the challenge to keep up continues to mount.

It is imperative that our state lawmakers fight for the authority to exercise discretion over our education system. As a school board member, I understand first hand that the needs of our community drastically deviate from those in downtown Los Angeles – our schools should not have to abide by the same parameters.

Moving forward, with Prop 98 serving as the foundation of our state’s education spending, our representatives must use this funding in a way that maximizes efficiency without sacrificing efficacy, and we must step up pressure on our federal officials to ensure federal education dollars aren’t cut.

Our own local school districts have met the challenges of deep cuts and unstable funding sources for years, and our local schools excel at serving every student regardless of need while leading the curve on academic achievement.  We consistently rank at the top of statewide achievement measures, and local educators and school boards have much to be proud of.

We are a great example of doing more with less; however, a huge loss of federal dollars cannot be sustained locally.  Every local district relies heavily on federal resources to help our most vulnerable students achieve, and state funding should reflect our state’s role in the global economy and the priority we place on our children.

Let’s work together to keep funding steady – and control local.

 

 

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Christy Smith: State must reaffirm local education control

Christy Smith

Since its inception, the U.S. Department of Education’s primary function has been to facilitate state and local education systems by providing financial support in strategic areas.

Given the current state of affairs in our nation’s capital, now is no time to stray from this doctrine.

The Constitution’s 10th Amendment empowers states to exert authority over local issues, with education serving as one of the more salient policy areas.

Our country’s founders, in establishing our public institutions, delegated control over schools to localities believing education should reflect a community’s distinct values.

As Secretary DeVos and President Trump use the federal budget in an attempt to encroach on state jurisdiction over education, our representatives in Sacramento must reaffirm their control over our schools and prevent out-of-touch billionaires in Washington from imposing their values on our students.

In the wake of these federal cuts, we will be forced to reevaluate budget priorities, preparing for a reduction in federal supplement and matching funds without sacrificing the programs that make California feel like home.

If a budget represents government priorities, we need new priorities.

As recently as 2015, California ranked 42nd in per-student-spending, with less than $11,000 per student. There is no justification for such funding levels, especially when compared to our state’s spending on prisons, which hovers at $45,000 per inmate.

Both individually and when taken in aggregate, these facts accentuate our irresponsible government spending in an area where our state shoulders responsibility.

When California fails to properly fund our schools, it’s our children who suffer. California students rank 45th in test scores, with only 28 percent scoring at or above proficiency in math and reading.

This is unacceptable. We should be a leader in education, nowhere near the bottom 10 percent statewide.  Coupled with federal level funding cuts, which are purely political, we are on an unsustainable course.

Unfortunately, it is no mystery why our schools rank so low in test scores; the top 10 states in education spending will allocate more than $7,000 more per student than California each year.

Over the course of a child’s education, this amounts to a significant deficit, forcing our students to play from behind as they compete for opportunities in an increasingly globalized world.

We can do better, and we must do so now. We will not be able to maintain the world’s 6th largest economy by maintaining the status quo.

Increasing our spending on education does not have to mean more taxes. It does not have to mean implementing undue regulations.

By redirecting outlays to align with our priorities, we can enhance our educational landscape without placing undue burdens on families, businesses or the budget.  Our local school districts do this every day, but the challenge to keep up continues to mount.

It is imperative that our state lawmakers fight for the authority to exercise discretion over our education system. As a school board member, I understand first hand that the needs of our community drastically deviate from those in downtown Los Angeles – our schools should not have to abide by the same parameters.

Moving forward, with Prop 98 serving as the foundation of our state’s education spending, our representatives must use this funding in a way that maximizes efficiency without sacrificing efficacy, and we must step up pressure on our federal officials to ensure federal education dollars aren’t cut.

Our own local school districts have met the challenges of deep cuts and unstable funding sources for years, and our local schools excel at serving every student regardless of need while leading the curve on academic achievement.  We consistently rank at the top of statewide achievement measures, and local educators and school boards have much to be proud of.

We are a great example of doing more with less; however, a huge loss of federal dollars cannot be sustained locally.  Every local district relies heavily on federal resources to help our most vulnerable students achieve, and state funding should reflect our state’s role in the global economy and the priority we place on our children.

Let’s work together to keep funding steady – and control local.

 

 

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Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor

  • Brian Baker

    “… representatives in Sacramento must reaffirm their control over our schools and prevent out-of-touch billionaires in Washington from imposing their values on our students.”

    Apparently it’s better to let out-of-touch Sacramento leftists impose THEIR values through indoctrination, starting in elementary school, particularly since it’s a captive audience, right, Smith?

    How about this? School vouchers, which would return control to where it really belongs, the parents. Let the PARENTS choose which “values” their kids are subjected to. Eliminate the public school monopoly on education, and its attendant suppression of conservative principles and ideology through the radical agenda imposed by the teachers’ union and the socialists in Sacramento.

    You talk about imposed values? Now’s the time to put your money where your mouth is. Actions, not words. Support school vouchers.

    • Nathan Bousfield

      school vouchers are proven to disadvantage minority students. so unless you think poor kids deserve a worse education, vouchers are a terrible solution to this problem.

      • Brian Baker

        “Proven”?

        Do you just pull this nonsense put of thin air, or what? The only “disadvantage” to minority students is that more of them get stuck in the public schools and left behind by the people who actually take advantage of the vouchers.

        Apparently the only “choice” you lefties ever want people to be able to make is to “choose” to murder their unborn babies.

      • Nicole Veto

        Kid, when you have kids in public school come talk to me.

        • Nathan Bousfield

          I went to public schools, I know what they are like.

          • Nicole Veto

            My daughter is 7. A lots changed. Educate yourself.

          • Nicole Veto

            I went to public schools too… and?

          • Nathan Bousfield

            What’s changed?

          • Nicole Veto

            I like our school it’s as good as it gets for public education. I love the principal and teachers and I’m not bashing my school, I’m actually impressed with them as a whole. it’s just that there are many things the curriculum teaches (that is mandatory, not under the schools control) that I don’t agree with as kids get older, namely jr high and high school. I’m thankful we live in an area with good public schools but do feel a voucher system is fair.

      • Gary Bierend

        Nathan Bousfield: “school vouchers are proven to disadvantage minority students. so unless you think poor kids deserve a worse education…”

        Why do you assume minority students are poor?

      • Ron Bischof

        From your linked NYT article, Mr. Bousfield:

        “There’s always the chance that a single study, no matter how well designed, is an outlier. Studies of older voucher programs in Milwaukee and elsewhere have generally produced mixed results, sometimes finding modest improvements in test scores, but only for some subjects and student groups. Until about a year ago, however, few if any studies had shown vouchers causing test scores to decline drastically.”

        A Generation of School-Voucher Success

        http://www.hoover.org/research/generation-school-voucher-success

    • Nathan Bousfield

      I have a few more questions about this comment:
      -what indoctrination is occurring in public schools?
      -are you aware the “out-of-touch Sacramento leftists” were elected by California voters?
      -how are public schools holding a monopoly on education, when private and charter schools exist?
      -how do vouchers solve funding issues related to education?

      • Brian Baker

        Kid….. I don’t have time to educate you. Your questions display a PROFOUND ignorance of the topic.

        • Nathan Bousfield

          I think what you really mean is you don’t have any answers.

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            Nathan one need be educated first before they could educate you. Brian never has the courage to defend his own words. He sure loves posting memes though. You’re spot on, when confronted most times the coward just runs away or throws out insults.

          • Nicole Veto

            Asinine comments from the peanut gallery. When in doubt revert to invalidated insults. Perhaps you, too, should do some research before interjecting. Facts: I know they are scary to you libs. Better to keep your head firmly in the sand. Accepting the facts and doing research is far too much work.

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            Great daddy needs his own daughter to defend him now…

          • Nicole Veto

            Thats cute.

          • Brian Baker

            One more thing, kid. In your haste to fail to “prove” an academic shortfall in the voucher program, you overlooked the MAIN point of a voucher system, which I CLEARLY defined in my comment.

            What WE want is to yank our kids out of the Dem/socialist indoctrination system laughingly called “public education”, where our kids have drummed into their little heads propaganda and ideologies we find
            repugnant.

            I’ll use this valley as an example. In most of the area (in my experience) we actually have a pretty good school system academically. My daughter, and now my granddaughter, go to Helmers. Really good
            school!

            But if we had access to a voucher system, mygranddaughter would be yanked out of there and enrolled in SCCS faster than a speeding bullet.

            Which is EXACTLY what the California socialists know, and EXACTLY why they vehemently block vouchers in this sorry state.

        • Brian Baker

          No, what I mean is exactly what I said. You’re clearly profoundly ignorant of the topic, as your inane questions aptly illustrate.

          However, kudos for being able to parrot the standard Dem/socialist talking points. But I hope you don’t expect to be taken seriously. Ain’t happening.

          • Nicole Veto

            *hands Bousefield participation trophy

          • Nathan Bousfield

            you’ve got an extra e, no spelling trophy for you

          • Nicole Veto

            Only trophy I need is Trump as our president.

          • Nathan Bousfield

            okay?

          • Brian Baker

            Welcome, Nicole!

            It’s great to see a member of the next generation who doesn’t gulp the Kool-Aid.

  • Brian Richards

    “Since its inception, the U.S. Department of Education’s primary function has been to facilitate state and local education systems by providing financial support in strategic areas.”

    So we send money to DC to fund a multi billion dollar enterprise so they can send it back to support strategic areas? Do liberals ever see the failure of their logic?

    “If a budget represents government priorities, we need new priorities.

    As recently as 2015, California ranked 42nd in per-student-spending, with less than $11,000 per student. There is no justification for such funding levels, especially when compared to our state’s spending on prisons, which hovers at $45,000 per inmate.”

    Clearly funding for things illegals aliens need is more of a priority.

    “and we must step up pressure on our federal officials to ensure federal education dollars aren’t cut.”

    Who supplies federal dollars Ms. Smith? Where do federal dollars come from? The answer is that WE supply federal dollars. You must think the federal dollar fairy supplies funding.

    “Let’s work together to keep funding steady – and control local.”
    Unbelievable!

  • Brian Baker

    Well, kid, first of all that doesn’t “prove” anything, contrary to your claim.

    Secondly, the great thing about a voucher program is that kids who are in schools that perform poorly can be yanked out and placed in different schools. Those studies don’t reflect that reality.

    The Louisiana program was limited to students from very poor households, so it’s reflective of pretty much nothing, as it’s not a subject group reflective of society at large, and in fact is reflective of that segment of the population that traditionally has very poor academic performance and habits (did you even read your own source material?).

    Similar limiting factors were also applied in the other studies. In other words, kid, you’ve cited “proof” that actually proves nothing at all as to general population.

    Not even a good try, bud.

  • Ron Bischof

    “Our country’s founders, in establishing our public institutions, delegated control over schools to localities believing education should reflect a community’s distinct values.”

    Wait… what? Please provide a source for delegation of public schooling, Ms. Smith. I searched and it’s not to be found. What am I missing?

    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

    Do you instead mean our Founders supported public funding of education by the states?

    Your column invokes Federalism and local control while advocating for more Federal education funding. I realize this is the diktat of the public education unions funding your campaign, but let’s not pretend this is a logically consistent position.

    Additionally, you provide no data to support that funding is tied to student outcomes. In fact, education funding has increased significantly since 1970 with no demonstrable improvement in student achievement metrics.

    https://www.cato.org/blog/public-school-spending-theres-chart

    Regarding the invocation of international competition, the USA is centered in the median with other OECD member states in spending on public education. If you research testing results, you’ll find the USA underperforms countries that spend less.

    https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/public-spending-on-education.htm

    Have you considered that there may be other causes of low student achievement?

    Union talking points are bound to lead to embarrassing information gaps, Ms. Smith. I recommend you perform your own research.

  • Ron Bischof

    “Given the current state of affairs in our nation’s capital, now is no time to stray from this doctrine.”

    No doubt you’ll welcome the Trump Administration’s support for local education control, Ms. Smith.

    https://www.facebook.com/FoxNews/videos/10155363205941336/

  • CW

    I agree with Brian Baker (below). Where was Ms. Smith these past 8 years when the Obama administration was telling states what to do in their schools? If Ms. Smith is TRULY a fan of local control she should be advocating school vouchers, not centralized control in Sacramento where Democrats make all the decisions.

    BTW, this tired old comparison between spending per prisoner and spending per student is just asinine. What is the point of comparing two populations that have nothing in common and that have distinctly different requirements? Are there people who are actually fooled by this?

    Call me when Democrats stop trying to LOOK like they care about kids and actually care.

Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor