California is one of the states in the U.S. that have witnessed several challenges in the education sector. Most stakeholders in the education sector have affirmed that the field of science presents immense untapped potentials. The alterations in the demographic composition in the past ten years due to immense immigration have also been a serious barrier to the provision of quality education in California. Furthermore, the ongoing budget cuts in the education sector have contributed to the poor performance of students. This paper will discuss the status of education in California and the challenges it is undergoing as well as mapping out possible solutions to these problems.
The education system in California is currently struggling to satisfy the demands of the economy as well as the anticipations of the residents. The status of education in California is undergoing a number of problems in several areas such as the proficiency of the tutors coupled with valuation and liability to preparing learners for further education and the labor market. The legislation enacted to govern the education system in California do not frequently support the desires of the learners, parents, and other stakeholders in the education sector.
Most scholars have always suggested that if California is interested in overcoming most of its social as well as economic challenges, it should be ready to start an inclusive modification of the public education system. This paper discusses the status of education in California by assessing the impact of alterations in the demography as well as the budget to the education system. Furthermore, it will discuss the problems ailing the education system and recommend solutions to those problems.
The Status of Education in California
Scholars got disturbed with the standard of education in the California public schools coupled with the prevalent questions of impartiality in the distribution of resources to students throughout the state and thus hired educators to assess the condition of education in the state. The researchers revealed that there was the intensely prejudiced distribution of the poorest facilities in schools that are dominated by students from destitute families, African American, Hispanic Americans, and English language students. These poor conditions have contributed to meager academic performance over the past decade. Furthermore, the study disclosed that teachers are uncomfortable with the way the government has been dealing with issues of education in the state.
Teachers assert that they are insufficient facilities to teach the state-authorized syllabus in a proper educational setting. Fifty-four percent of tutors who teach science students have confirmed that there are insufficient resources to teach science efficiently. The ratio of students to textbooks is imbalanced, as students have to share the few books available making studying a difficult task for learners. The teaching amenities across the state are substandard considering that most classrooms in the state are poorly furnished with leaking ceilings and some broken windows (Ehrenberg, 2009).
However, some teachers proclaim that there is an improvement in education since 2002 for they can comfortably teach the state-ratified curriculum and agree that textbooks are sufficiently distributed among students. Unfortunately, these teachers only make less than 5 percent of the entire population of teachers (James & Donald, 2005). Therefore, the standard of education, as well as the teaching environment in California across state-owned schools, is detrimental for vast numbers of learners.
In the 1960s, California had an estimated population of sixty million, but New York had more citizens than this number. Out of this population, 35 percent were children. Educating this young population generated an unexpected challenge to both the state and federal government (Carroll, 2005). The state was largely composed of whites and inherent residents as compared to those foreign-born citizens who only formed approximately 8 percent of the population. By 2000, the state had grown to become one of the largest states in the U.S. Furthermore, it witnessed new developments in its population, as the number of foreign-born residents rose to a quarter of the population.
Over the past years, though the per capita income as well as the population of educated residents has risen considerably in California, the rate to which these factors differentiate California from other states has deteriorated. The educational leadership that it enjoyed over other states has also decreased. A major contributor to this decline is the large-scale immigration to the state. Unfortunately, children of poorly educated immigrants create a monumental challenge to the education system. The students are unable to meet most of the school demands due to their poor background (Carroll, 2005).
Education is one of the main financed programs by the California state budget for it gets over 40 percent of the state funding. However, the public education system is confounded by the California budget cuts (Martinez, 2009). California is currently plagued with a budget shortfall of $24 billion. The ongoing cuts are annihilating public education. The budget has been amended to cut funds for the education of up to $11.6 billion.
Consequently, this move implies that there will be a deferment in the provision of textbooks coupled with a reduction in the seven days of schooling and progressive placement; moreover, special education will have to be abolished. College students might end up losing the tuition assistance that is regulated by the Cal Grant program (Martinez, 2009). All the stakeholders in the education sector should map out ideas that can resolve the ongoing crisis including the budget cuts.
Reforming Education in California
As the government and other shareholders in the education sector attempt to resolve the ongoing education crisis, they should employ a number of reforms. First, the available resources must be directed to where they are most wanted. The education system is dominated by inflexible inducements that target regions and children who rarely need them. The state must be wise when distributing its resources so that it minimizes waste and offer a more reliable education system for every learner.
Secondly, homegrown schools and districts must be agile enough to allocate resources where they are relevant. California is uniquely a disparate state with its counties, urban centers, and districts battling with diverse problems. However, its education structure is the most centralized in the U.S. Schools should be given the liberty to utilize the resources they have in meeting the demands of their students (Sonstelie & Richardson, 2001). State-level policies that monitor the districts, as well as the categorical financing programs, must be lessened to enable the disparate districts to handle their own challenges and distinctive students.
Furthermore, any of the policies enacted by the government should be crafted in a way that they can encourage constant progress in performance. The policies must be discreetly appraised and structures for data assemblage and utilization be reinforced. The government should also be flexible to encourage the application of policies that are having a positive impact on the citizens and reexamine those that appear irrelevant to the residents. Districts should update each other of their failures as well as accomplishments through networks (Sonstelie & Richardson, 2001).
In the case of underpayment of teachers, it is crucial to acknowledge that tutors have a significant impact on the academic performance of students (Loeb, Darling-Hammond, & Luczak, 2005). Paying teachers fairly by wiping out perverse inducements, promoting local flexibility, and testing new methods in recruitment will better prepare public schools to get and preserve tutors who will guarantee the best performance for the students (James & Donald, 2005).
The current quality of education in California determines the future level of economic development in the state. The recent budget cuts, which are likely to cause financial complexities, inefficiency, and inequitable distribution of resources, must be resolved. The state government should address this matter by streamlining fund system to promote transparency and parity. The best method of implementing this streamlining is by establishing a weighted-student finance structure and creating platforms for local funding to reinforce the association between the residents and their schools (Sonstelie & Richardson, 2001).
The status of education in California is far below the desires of the residents as well as the students. The residents anticipate that the education system should promote economic affluence in the state. Resolving the ongoing problems in the education sector calls for more investment in the public schools, and thus proposals to cut education funding should be disregarded. However, some reforms do not necessarily require the input of money. Consequently, the present budget crisis should not be used as a pretext for postponing any remedies that can be applied now. It is necessary for all the stakeholders in the education system to work in unity in resolving the challenges facing the education system in California.
Carroll, J. (2005). California’s K-12 Public Schools: How Are They Doing? California, CA: Rand Corporation. Web.
Ehrenberg, G. (2007). What’s Happening to Public Higher Education: The Shifting Financial Burden. Maryland, MD: JHU Press. Web.
James, D. L., & Donald, C., N. (2005). Forecasting Demand for California Credentialed Teachers. Issues in Teacher Education, 14(2):7-23. Web.
Loeb, S., Darling-Hammond, L., & Luczak, J. (2005). How Teaching Conditions Predict Teacher Turnover in California Schools. Peabody Journal of Education, 80(3), 44-70. Web.
Martinez, K. (2009). Public education devastated by California budget cuts. Web.
Sonstelie, J., & Richardson, P. (2001). School Finance and California’s Master Plan for Education. California, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Web.