On Thursday, November 10, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government hosted an education roundtable at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. The topic was, “Is K-12 Education in California in Crisis? If So, What Do We Do About It?”
There were four panelists:
Julia Brownley, California State Assemblywoman, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee
Dean Vogel, President of the California Teachers’ Association
Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association
Jeff Stark, Vice-President of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education
Moderator David Abel, Chairman of the VERDEXCHANGE Institute, led the conversation, with the panel unanimously agreeing that K-12 education in California is indeed in crisis. Much of the discussion focused on school funding issues. Panelists described how many districts are now borrowing against future tax revenues to meet their costs. This funding mechanism, however, is not available to charter schools. Charter schools are also borrowing, but must do so at much higher rates.
Mr. Vogel and Mr. Wallace also discussed the topic of inadequate professional development for young teachers and how that leads many bright and enthusiastic teachers to burn out after just a few years.
Mr. Stark pointed out that it is very difficult for local school boards to plan their budgets because they don’t know how much money will be coming from the state or when it will arrive.
Panelists agreed that there needs to be more dialogue and less conflict, and that they need to emphasize common ground and work across the aisle. Mr. Wallace and Assembly Woman Brownley noted their unprecedented alliance to address the issue of underperforming charter schools as a model for cooperation going forward.
The Rose Institute would like thank the panelists and the moderator for their insights and the large number of students and faculty who participated in the event. A link to the video will be posted once it becomes available.