Today more than one in five children in California live in poverty and one quarter of California’s K-12 students are English learners. Poor students, African-Americans and Latinos, and English learners are over-represented among students scoring at the lowest levels and under-represented among the highest scoring. These achievement gaps between poor and non-poor and among various ethnic groups have over several decades been the catalyst for many laws and education reforms.
School board members have long been urging the state to let them use resources in a way that best fits local needs to help improve student outcomes. In June 2013, the California Legislature approved and Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a historic reform of public K-12 education finance. Based on equity, transparency, accountability and local governing board authority, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) transformed the distribution of funding to school districts, charter schools and county offices of education in a manner that grants local communities greater autonomy to customize education program offerings in purposeful ways for the entire student population generally, yet specifically for those students who are English learners, from low-income families, and those who are foster youth.
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