Monday, June 13, 2005

26 of county's lowest-performing campuses found short of materials --

June 12, by Laurel Rosenhal, Sacramento Bee staff writer

Now it would seem to follow that if kids do not have the required text books they are not going to do well on the tests. The folks that brought us NCLB will try to you that you can't just throw money at the problem. Well, the problem is the money hasn't been spent for decades!

A check of Sacramento County's lowest-performing schools confirms what critics have long contended: Many needy children do not have textbooks and other materials required to learn.

...26 schools out of 71 reviewed came up short - lacking books for English, social studies, science or math. The majority are in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

The survey's results are little surprise to teachers and parents at schools with low test scores. They say their students have been shortchanged for years...

...The findings come as the county office wraps up the first round of audits required by the settlement of a lawsuit filed in 2000 on behalf of students in the state's struggling schools.

Williams v. State of California, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and settled by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year, alleged that the state had failed to provide all children with sufficient learning materials, safe and clean school buildings and properly trained teachers.

The settlement established new laws and provides about $1 billion to remedy problems in schools with Academic Performance Index scores in the bottom 30 percent statewide - mostly schools that serve impoverished, nonwhite children.

One of those new laws says that each student must have a set of state-approved books, or other learning materials, in each academic subject - math, English, science and social studies.

The settlement earmarks about $138 million for districts to buy textbooks and supplies needed to meet the requirement. About $2.8 million goes to schools in Sacramento County.

The agreement also requires that county offices of education check low-performing schools each year to make sure students have the books they are entitled to and report any emergencies in building conditions...

A lawyer with the ACLU said that Sacramento's experience is typical. Brooks Allen said visits to Williams schools across the state are finding textbook shortages. The procedure validates the group's original allegations, he said...

Apparently something good might come from the Gubanator after all.

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