White, Latino voters split over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to ‘spread the wealth’ among California schools

Mar 28, 2013 by

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown may have stumbled upon the one form of social justice that California’s left-wing teacher unions won’t support: Taking financial aid from the state’s “rich” schools and giving it to the poor schools.

The centerpiece of Brown’s new education plan “would give all districts a base grant, with extra funding for each student who is low-income, struggling with English or in foster care,” reports the L.A. Times.

The state’s teacher unions don’t like Brown’s plan, presumably because it would seriously cramp school districts’ ability to meet the unions’ financial demands during contract negotiations.

But causing angst among union allies might be the least of the problems surrounding Brown’s plan.

Political observers say the governor’s spread-the-wealth plan might trigger class and racial “warfare” among California voters.

Polling data from a bipartisan firm finds that a majority of white voters don’t support the idea of taking money away from middle- and upper-class schools in order to subsidize poor – and often failing – schools.

A majority of Latino voters, however, support Brown’s plan to help schools with large numbers of non-English-speaking and low-income students.

“Brown has unwittingly stumbled into war on two different fronts: class warfare … and racial warfare, as revealed by the decidedly differing views of whites and Latinos in the poll,” writes CalWatchdog, a group that specializes in independent journalism.

Despite sitting on a potential powder keg, Brown remains resolute, notes CalWatchdog.

The governor recently defended his plan as “a classic case of justice to unequals.”

CalWatchdog says Brown’s motives may be “admirable,” but concludes his plan is “not only divisive, it also won’t work.”

“That’s because it is based on the fallacious notion that if a school (or school district) has enough tax dollars to work with, it will turn out well-performing students,” the group writes.

“Indeed, Washington, D.C. spends $29,409 per pupil, the highest in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet, it received an F grade for K-12 student achievement on its 2013 report card from Education Week,” CalWatchdog notes.

“If Brown was really about justice to unequals, then he would empower parents of low-income or English-language-learning schoolchildren to exercise the same school choice as the state’s more affluent parents.

“And the very best way to do that is with a K-12 low-income student assistance program that provides ‘scholarships’ — vouchers — that can be used to enroll in public, private or parochial schools,” the group concludes.

via White, Latino voters split over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to ‘spread the wealth’ among California schools – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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