“This budget proposal is important because due to budget cuts, my school has resorted to constructing portables that have created an unhealthy and jail-like environment…and has a supply of unsteady counselors which leaves my graduating class of 2012 to less than 10. Half of them are not prepared to continue higher education…because they are unprepared to bounce back…and can barely manage their current settings.”
– Sweet-Jody Diala, AYPAL Youth
Picture this scene: Ten to fifteen young leaders step up one at a time to speak out about poor school conditions and the need for a new school funding formula in front of a panel of California lawmakers. Now imagine that these young leaders are some of the only voices in the room that represent students from large, urban school districts that are predominantly low-income youth of color.
This was the scene that AYPAL and the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) coalition faced when we testified at the Senate and Assembly Budget subcommittees on education finance in February and March of this year. Despite much push-back from smaller, more rural, and more affluent school districts, we advocated strongly for a “weighted student formula” that would increase funding for low-income and English Language Learner (ELL) students. Without a new method to increase equity, accountability, and adequacy in our school finance system, many immigrant and low-income youth of color will continue to be under-prepared to graduate high school and/or attend college.
This spring, AYPAL will be working with the rest of the CQE coalition to demand that the California legislature and our Governor work together to create a new school funding formula that addresses the needs of our state’s neediest students. Stay tuned for future announcements on those upcoming actions in May!
LIKE CQE’s Facebook campaign to get up to date information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/
Senate hearing: http://www.calchannel.com/
Assembly hearing: http://www.calchannel.com/