It’s the most exciting time of year, at least for all of us with young kids at home: Summer vacation. But while our kids are enjoying a much-deserved summer break, Congress needs to get started on some much-needed work.
Simply put, our education system is broken. That’s why I recently introduced a common-sense bill that will deliver our teachers and students the support they so deserve.
The Cash to Classrooms Act will help ensure that California schools – and classrooms all around the nation – have the resources necessary to provide a quality education for America’s next generation. Right now, California operates according to the average daily attendance (ADA) formula. This perverse formula penalizes schools – and subsequently our teachers and students – for absenteeism rates. California is only one of seven states that continue to use this outdated and regressive policy.
California has an ADA-to-enrollment ratio of 91.4%. That means 8.6% of the average California school’s budget is withheld, effectively cutting the school’s funding by nearly 10% because of a metric that teachers and students cannot control. Districts could realize an immediate lever to pay teachers that additional 8.6% – without adding a single dollar to the state’s budget – if only they did away with the ADA construct.
I’ve spoken with many parents in my district whose children walk to school every day. Naturally, if the child must walk alone for any number of reasons, parents sometimes don’t consider it to be safe. Is it fair for teachers to have less resources because of this unavoidable reality?
There are also some districts that still require students to stay at home if they test positive for COVID-19. Is it fair to teachers that they must shoulder the cost of this mandatory absence?
This ADA policy is particularly harmful for the disadvantaged – those schools in poorer neighborhoods with higher percentages of minorities that most need this funding. These are the schools that most struggle with recruiting and retaining teachers, and these are the schools that my legislation will work to better protect.
We need to pay our teachers more, not less. That means cutting out the administrators and central planning bureaucracies that are needlessly absorbing taxpayer funds that should be going straight to teachers and their students.
That is exactly what my legislation proposes to do. And that is exactly why I’m urging all my colleagues in Congress – on both sides of the aisle – to join the fight to support our teachers and guarantee that America’s youth get the education they deserve.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.