LOS ANGELES (Feb. 2, 2015) – Supt. Ramon Cortines appreciates the help President Barack Obama’s proposed 2016 budget would provide, if approved. At stake are: a $1 billion increase for Title I, which supports schools with a high percentage of low-income students and a $3 billion investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction, plus additional support to help English language learners and strengthen teachers.
Los Angeles Unified would definitely benefit.
“We applaud the President’s recognition of the need for more education funding in critical areas like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and additional support for ELL and the needs of our Special Education students. Additional funds in these areas not only allow for new and expanded programs, but also recognize the federal commitment to our Special Education students. In the specific case of L.A. Unified, these dollars can also help mitigate some staffing reductions anticipated due to declining enrollment,” Supt. Cortines said. “We can redirect Math teachers into STEM magnets or maintain more counselors to work with our English learner students. Expanding these programs and saving these jobs are in the best interest of increasing academic achievement.”
Title I, the largest federal program supporting elementary and secondary education, provides assistance to help low-income children meet academic standards. At L. A. Unified, more than 80 percent of students qualify because they receive free or reduced-priced lunches. These funds can be used, for example, to hire additional teachers to reduce ballooning class sizes at Title I schools and to provide interventions such as specialized instruction and tutoring to help low-performing students improve.
The proposal for science, technical, engineering and math education would fund more classes and student-centered instruction at high schools, as well as the creation of STEM-magnet schools. Another goal: expanding opportunities for girls and other groups underrepresented in those career fields.
The White House plan also calls for increased funding for special education and efforts to assist English language learners. Though no amounts were specified, any increase would help the District. The reason is: unfunded requirements for students with disabilities divert money from the general fund that could be spent on saving jobs. And, nearly one-third of the District’s students are learning English as a second language.
To help teachers, the Obama budget plan would invest in preparation to develop strong instructors before they reach the classroom and support the growth and success of educators throughout their careers. Again, students would benefit.
The Obama blueprint faces hurdles in Congress however the investments in public education represent much needed support for America’s teachers and students.