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www.gae.org | 19 their plan: how money is spent can be as important as how much is spent. The inconsistencies of spending are explored, with some findings revealing that the gaps in spending per pupil can sometimes differ in thousands of dollars, depending on the school district. The five-part plan was built on a foundation of Common Core principles, and focuses on the following areas of inequity: school funding, early childhood education, teacher quality, resources available for teachers and students, and governance over the policies and leadership put into place to maintain the proposed standards. In an introduction by the cochairs of the Commission, Christopher Edley, Jr. and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, they made sure to note that while the Commission did not necessarily to agree on every point within the document, there was a common goal amongst all members: this was a “broad agreement on the underlying problems and fundamental principles and policies needed to solve them.”** Part one focuses on Improving School Finance and Efficiency. The Commission notes that to achieve the goal of equity and excellence in education, resources must be distributed based on student need, and also make sure that the resources are being used in the best way. To achieve this goal, the Commission makes a few recommendations. They suggest that the needs of school districts must be first identified, and then publicly reported, with an emphasis on reporting the teaching staff, programs and services needed so that all students have the chance at a meaningful education experience. They also believe there is a need to restructure the financial systems so that there is enough funding for all students to have the chance to achieve academically, and meet standards set by leadership. This includes provisions for additional resources that may be needed for students who come from low-income families, students with disabilities, and students whose first language is not English. They also call for regular reviews of financial systems to make sure they are appropriate for student needs at the time of review, as well as making sure that funding is fair and publicly reported. To achieve these goals, the Commission believes the assistance of the federal government may help by providing incentives to the states for taking action, and also by providing guidance on budgeting so that the funds reach all of the students fairly. Part two emphasizes the opportunities for teaching, leading and learning, and most notably - the need to not only seek top talent to teach in public schools, but also retain the most effective teachers to ensure the best education possible for students. The Commission believes that the top college graduates may not be attracted to the teaching profession for a few reasons, stating quality of teacher preparation courses varying greatly, and that starting salaries and also salary trajectories are not competitive enough to attract the best of the best. The Commission is calling for more competitive compensation for teachers, as well as ongoing professional development that will allow teachers a better ability to identify the individual needs of students. These benefits may already exist in affluent areas, and as the top talent is gravitating to these areas, the gaps in opportunity for students to have the best teachers widens even more for districts of concentrated poverty. Gaining talented new teachers is important, but the report greatly emphasizes the need to retain talented teachers, and they believe there are a few important ways this can be achieved. First, make sure to offer ongoing, effective professional development. The Commission notes that some money is being allocated to development, but it is not being used as well as it could be. They note the need to align professional development with the Common Core State Standards, so that the methods the teachers are using in the classroom are being utilized to the fullest potential. There is also great emphasis on the need for more collaboration among teachers, better resources and technology, and encouraging each school to have a culture where teachers are respected and their opinions heard.


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