UPDATE: June 27, 2013: In this morning's signing of the $96.3 billion '13-'14 state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown sustained the funding for the Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Program (and its associated Future Farmers of America); the Legislature had reinserted the program into the budget as a categorical item, rather than a "flexed" item. Brown explained his decision: "This program was eliminated in my Local Control Funding Formula proposal consistent with my belief that local education agencies are in the best position to allocate their funding...Given the Legislature's support... I will direct my Administration to examine whether this funding should continue as a separate categorical program into the future."
April 2, 2013: If approved, Gov. Brown's Local Control Funding Formula, the overhaul of public (including public charter) school financing proposed for the '13-'14 budget year will eliminate categorical funding for agriculture education. The change in funding would not require schools to provide students with agricultural vocational education; instead, program funding would be determined by school boards and administration officials.
Jim Aschwanden, executive director of the California Agriculture Teachers Association (CATA), at left, told California's Children, "The districts are only going to do what they are required to do….local control is aTrojan horse… it’s not what everyone thinks it is...decisions are made on partial information, so we are very concerned..."
In an email, Aschwanden said, "Agriculture is an important, vibrant part of the economy of California...this budget proposal will remove any incentive for districts to offer these programs, since they are not part of the graduation mandates or included in the standardized test matrix used to rank school performance. The fact that they make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of young people won't matter - that's not part of the school accountability process. "
(Above, FFA members pose with their awards after a state-wide competition in Fresno.)
Students who are enrolled in agriculture education classes have the opportunity to join the 85-year-old Future Farmers of American (FFA), an organization that trains youth in leadership through ag ed. (There are currently 70,000 high-school age FFA members in California.)
Aschwanden later added, "No one is questioning the value of Career Technical Education or specifically ag education - they're simply ignoring the consequences to these programs if this proposal is approved as part of the state budget adoption process."
"The Agricultural Incentive grant currently provides slightly over $4 million to agricultural education programs in California who meet very specific program quality criteria. The current proposal would eliminate the entire Agricultural Incentive Grant program, as well as other Career Technical Education programs...this cut to [ag ed] would come on top of the ['12-'13] cuts [of $230K] to [FFA]...[and] effectively end any designated funding for [ag ed]."
Reported for California's Children by Taylor McCulloch.
February 26, 2013: Gov. Brown's "Local Control Funding Formula," the overhaul of public (and charter) school financing proposed for '13-'14 budget year into two primary formulas eliminates the majority of categorical programs. As to local control funding behaviors in the past, let's go to the video tape:
The 2011, the RAND Corporation, funded by private foundation money, examined how 10 school districts responded to the ("not a well-articulated policy") deregulations (SBX-4 2009)of $4.5 billion in categorial flexing ("local educators [were freed] from specific guidelines that ...regulated spending on 40 [categoricals]"). Most of the districts used the money to "backfill" cuts. Some highlights:
*GATE programs were pared-back or eliminated in six of 10 case study districts.
*Tutoring for high school exit exam for "adolescents at risk of not passing" were cut
*Budget decisions were made primarily by superintendents and "senior staff" (mostly "chief financial officers")
*Adult education was cut in eight of 10 districts
Regional occupational centers and programs
Summer school programs
Instructional material block grant
Professional development block grant
Grade 7-12 counseling
Teacher credentialing block grant
High school class size reduction
Pupil retention block grant
California high school exit exam tutoring
California School Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE)
Professional development for math and English
Gifted and talented education (GATE)
Community-based English tutoring
Physical education block grant
Staff development Development
School Safety Competitive grant
Certificated staff mentoring
Specialized secondary program grants
Oral health assessments
K-3 size reduction
Economic impact aid
Foster youth programs
Community day schools (for mandatory expelled)