by Tony Bui, CFJ Student Leader
On January 16th, 2014 hundreds of administrators, parents, students, and advocates attended the State Board of Education meeting to voice their opinions on the proposed regulations for the Local Control Funding Formula, a new way of funding schools. After 7 hours of testimony, the board did not include CFJ’s recommendations in the immediate regulations, though they will be considered when the final rules are voted on this summer.
As a student, I was very disappointed after the Sacramento Board of Education meeting. Although the Board consists of capable professionals, they disregarded the suggestions of students like me who want to ensure districts are held accountable to high need students.
I was there since the night before with various groups representing hundreds of parents and students. I stayed up until 12 AM preparing for my speech and finishing my homework for school to make up for the work I would miss. On Thursday, January 16th, I got up early in the morning at 4:30 AM to get in line, and waited 9 long hours to give a 1-minute speech on behalf of the East Side Union High School District. I was cut off and I felt like the Board did not listen to my message.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students and parents rallied outside the meeting to demand that the money from this new formula be used for high-need students. For example, in my school, this money could be used to hire more counselors or fund support programs to ensure less students like me are not struggling academically, which would lead to a higher graduation rate and better careers.
All of our hard work and months of preparation were only worth a few minutes of decision-making by the Board of Education, which did not vote to include any of our suggestions. The Board should have paid more attention to the students’ voices and spent more time having a thoughtful debate on how they would make these students’ lives better.
I hope that one day students like me will have the necessary resources to help us learn and achieve our goals and I know that LCFF is a great opportunity to achieve this. This is important to students from all over California because our voice is crucial to achieving the proper implementation of this new funding formula. Even though CFJ’s recommendations were not applied, the struggle to improve the futures of high need students in California continues in July, when the regulations for the next three years will be adopted. We will not give up until all high-need students are provided with a quality education and our voices are taken into account.