By Mary O’KEEFE
Public schools are seeing some significant changes with the end of categorical funding and Common Core entering the school system. The changes have created some confusion and many parents have questions as to what this will all mean to their children.
These new programs will be discussed on Saturday at the Fourth Annual Community Forum on Public Education sponsored by the PTAs of the Five Star Coalition.
“It is our goal to educate the public on public education,” said Monna Johnson, president of Crescenta Valley High School PTSA.
The forum will have three special guests speakers: Nancy Brownell, senior fellow for Common Core Systems Implementation with the California Dept. of Education and California State Board of Education who will discuss Common Core. Ron Bennett, chief executive officer, School Services of California, who will be discussing Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plan. Patty Scripter, California PTA vice president for education, will give the audience an update on the states PTA activities.
Common Core State Standards was a program developed by a standards commission that consisted of 21 members: 11 members appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, five members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and five members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
The program, which is being introduced into districts this year and will be fully implemented by next year, has caused some controversy and misunderstanding as to what this will mean to public school curriculum. Some have voiced concern about the direction of language arts; others are concerned that new testing will not represent the school’s true potential.
There is also a new budgeting system called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). This new approach to funding is due to the past categorical funding being eliminated.
Categorical funding is when districts are given money that is meant for specific programs or areas. Many districts, including Glendale Unified School District, struggled at times with receiving money for one program when what it really needed was funding for something else. The process did not take into consideration the unique requirements of individual districts.
The state has changed the way districts are budgeted, allowing more freedom of individuality.
“We haven’t had a change [like this] in our public education [in years],” said Dr. Armina Gharpetian. “Anytime there is a change we hear a lot of controversial and fearful [comments].”
Gharpetian said the forum will help clarify the programs being implemented and to help calm some fears and misunderstandings.
The forum will answer questions concerning the programs at all of the Five Star Coalition districts including Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Cañada and Burbank.
The forum will take place at the Pacific Community Center, 501 S. Pacific Ave. in Glendale on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Check-in begins at 8 a.m.
The event is free and open to the public. It is advised to register for the event, though it is not required. To register and for more information visit www.ptaforum.info.