When it comes to education, the new state budget goes beyond providing $70.5 billion in funding for K-12 schools — it sets fundamental accountability rules for a new era of distance learning in California by requiring teachers to take online attendance and document student learning.
The budget bill, which Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign, anticipates that schools will continue to rely heavily on online instruction when campuses reopen in the fall. It also implicitly acknowledges the deep learning losses of the last semester, especially among students from low-income families, when school systems struggled to get all students online.
The new directives establish minimum teaching parameters for distance learning while protecting teachers against immediate layoffs.
“Educators and teacher unions have won fairly steady funding from Sacramento to reopen schools this fall,” said UC Berkeley education professor Bruce Fuller. “Now the imperative is to deliver a rich blend of online and face-to-face instruction.”
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