The Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education on Tuesday delayed approval of the district's proposed $113 million budget to implement standards for Common Core – California’s new English and math standards shared with 46 other states.
The budget proposes to create 122 new teacher-coach positions, several administrative positions and sets aside money for new technology and teaching materials. On top of that, schools would receive $70 per student to spend on professional development, technology upgrades and other needs related to transitioning to the new standards.
“It looks to me like we’ve created three levels of people supervising people below them,” said board member Bennett Kayser. He's critical of Superintendent John Deasy’s plans to hire nearly two hundred people in all. In many cases, those teacher coaches will be pulled out of classrooms.
“Who will replace them?” Kayser asked.
Board member Monica Ratliff had another problem with the teacher coaches.
“My two cents is that we should move $24 million for teacher advisors into local control and allow schools to make those decisions for themselves,” she said.
But other members of the board stressed there is no time to delay.
“We should do our jobs,” Monica Garcia said. “There is a behavior of postponing actions. And today, there is still the better half of our students who can’t read at grade level and we are sitting here having a conversation about whether or not to support them.”
The funds in question come from the state, which is on a steady march to switch to the new standards. Districts have already begun teaching to the new standards, and the state wants to throw out former standardized tests and implement new ones based on the common core in a test run this spring.
The Common Core emphasizes critical thinking skills over rote memorization. Many teachers love the idea of it and the freedom the new standards imply.
California is giving each district $200 per student to make the switch, for a total cost of more than $1.25 billion over this year and next.
Had the measure passed Tuesday, the district said it would have gone into effect the next day.
After nearly an hour of deliberation, the board delayed vote, putting it on the agenda for a special meeting to be held next Tuesday.