Five Stanzas for Jerry Brown

by Jeff Camp | December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
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Five Years

Five years ago, California's legislature deeply revised the system that funds school districts. The funding system, no longer new, is known as the Local Control Funding Formula, or more commonly as LCFF. It cleaned up a really messy, capricious funding system and set out to make it fairer.

Five years on, is Jerry Brown's signature education reform a success? What needs changing?

EdSource's John Fensterwald asked me (among other people) to write 150 words to mark the moment: is LCFF a success? What needs changing?

My muse struck: I decided to answer his question in verse. Hope you like it!

Five Stanzas on LCFF

They said that it could not be done.
That enemies would kill or stun
or maim the plan. That Jerry Brown's
too-sober logic, nodding frowns
and politics could never make
a fairer funding system take.

They said these things -- but they were wrong.
The moment, right for measures strong
enough to make a biggish change
proved adequate to flip the strange
old Sacramento-centered rules
and let each district run its schools.

But does this system meet its goals
for equity? Well... no one knows.
Accounting systems aren't set up
to track the dollars close enough
to know if money really goes
toward help for kids who need it most;

This "local" system hasn't set
a way to handle special ed;
The data systems that we need
still remain a distant dream;
and total funding hasn't grown
so teachers can afford their homes.

Six million students all await
A better-gilded Golden State
with schools equipped as they must be
to make each future bright and free
so students grow up without fear
toward service, college or career.

The system's lean, despite the Dow.
Still -- it's somewhat fairer now.

What Do You Think?

Careful, now: with a little encouragement, my muse might strike again. What do you think -- not just about my feeble poetry, but also about how LCFF is working (or not) in your district?

You can learn much more about LCFF on Ed100.org

Jeff Camp is the founder of Ed100.org, which demystifies the California education system one brief lesson at a time.

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