By: Ivan Joseph Ramirez
A quality school education makes students more likely to be accepted into a four-year university, and a college education is the key to having a better life.
Arguably, the highest quality school education can be found in charter schools, schools founded by parents, teachers, and community members and meant to best serve the student population. These schools are based around a charter and are highly supervised and held to a high level of accountability by either local school districts or the state board of education.
Charter schools typically have a more diverse student population, a smaller class size, greater curricular freedom, and more S.T.E.A.M. based programs than a traditional public school. They allow parents to choose what school their child attends, instead of them having to take their child to the neighborhood school in their zone, which may not be nearby the parent’s work or may not best serve the individual student.
I personally know about the higher quality and improved environment of a charter school, I am a junior at Magnolia Science Academy, a S.T.E.A.M. based charter school located in Santa Ana. After spending my first five years as a student in a highly awarded district fundamental school, I switched to a charter school, and the difference was tremendous.
At the new charter school, I became President of the School Newspaper, the Pirate Press, and got to help advocate for my school at the state capital in order to help renew the school charter.
Charter schools allow students to have more one-on-one time with the teacher, allow students to pursue their own interests and not just focus on the state testing curriculum, and they help students grow and find what is interesting to them, whereas district schools are all about conformity and teaching student only what they need to do well on state tests.
Unfortunately, the California State Legislature recently passed SB-98 Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill, which allows public schools to take in state funding that should be allocated to charter schools.
Currently, schools receive funding based on how many students they have and how many hours those students are in school. The bill, which passed with 29 aye votes in the state senate and 57 aye votes in the state assembly, allows public district schools to claim funding for students who attended that school during the 2019-2020 school year during the 2020-2021 school year, even if the students no longer attend that school. They also put a cap on how much funding charter schools can receive, meaning that the already underfunded schools will receive even less.
The legislature said that these changes are due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state budget and the changes to the school environment, however, what SB-98 does is provide a vast safety net for district schools while forcing charter schools to handle all of the fallout.
Moreover, many district schools did very little to educate students during the COVID-19 shutdown, making it more of a vacation, while charter schools such as the one I attend worked extremely hard to ensure students continued to learn and succeed.
It is not unlikely that parents will move their children to charter schools due to the quality of education during the quarantine, meaning that charter schools will now have less money and more students, while district schools will have more money and fewer students.
The SB-98 Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill is designed to provide district schools with a vast safety net while forcing the often higher quality, S.T.E.A.M. oriented charter schools to cope with all of the fallout, which will cause students to suffer for the state legislature’s political objective.