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CALIFORNIA

 StudentsFirst California State Director Jovan Agee announced that, thanks in large part to the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California’s grade on the organization’s annual State Policy Report Card (SPRC) improved from an F to a D-.

StudentsFirst’s State Policy Report Card – now in its second year – gauges how well each state’s education policies are serving students and schools. Rather than rank states based on current student achievement levels, the report card evaluates whether states have the right policy environments in place to best raise academic levels from where they are today.

“Governor Brown and the state legislature deserve great credit for helping to improve California’s grade on the SPRC through the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula. StudentsFirst was proud to be one of the members of the diverse coalition supporting this landmark effort to fund students based on their unique needs, and we look forward to continuing to be part of the implementation process,” said Agee. “That being said, California’s overall report card grade underscores the fact that there is still much work to be done to empower parents and increase educational opportunities for our students – especially those who live in some of our state’s most underserved communities. ”

LCFF’s passage directly contributed to California’s gains in the “fund students fairly,” “promote fiscal transparency and accountability,” and “promote staffing and programmatic flexibility” measures of the 2014 SPRC. Last year, StudentsFirst was part of the Fair Share 4 Kids Coalition that advocated in support of LCFF, which improves the flexibility, equity and adequacy of California’s education funding system. Later this week, the State Board of Education will vote on proposed spending regulations for the LCFF program; StudentsFirst has consistently called for regulations that include school-site reporting on spending, goals, and outcomes for the targeted low-income, English Learner, and foster youth students.

“My kids deserve access to the same educational opportunities that kids in Beverly Hills and Los Altos have,” said Maria Ruiz, a public school parent whose kids attend LAUSD schools. “And although LCFF does include greater parent input and will result in additional support so that our local school district can better support students like my sons, the SPRC also shows that there’s a lot of work left to be done to empower parents and improve outcomes for our students.”

Enacting common-sense laws that empower parents and provide families with high-quality school choices will be a major focus of StudentsFirst California and its 250,000 members in 2014. The report card offers a roadmap to passing laws and policies based on three critical pillars: elevating and improving the teaching profession, empowering parents with information and choice, and ensuring public dollars are being spent wisely in ways that help students learn.

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