Kenzo Kawanabe delivered a powerful wrap up on Friday, Sept. 2:
The trial has encompassed:
- Test scores
- Achievement gaps
- Graduation rates
- Over 80 live witnesses
Educators who are brave enough, honest enough to admit their failures.
All describe a lack of adequate resources to implement state requirements.
They know what works…there are islands of success. They do not have the resources to apply what they know works.
Effective teaching makes the most differences, but we cannot pay teachers.
George Welsh (Center School District) is doing the best he can with what he has.
In schools across Colorado (due to outdated textbooks) the Soviet Union Still exists; the Twin Towers still stand.
Creede School District had to close the industrial arts program even though he knows it works for students.
A Littleton School District expert said school districts cannot implement technology standards without equipment.
All superintendents describe schools as the life of the community…community centers we call schools.
If you truly want to address achievement gaps you need more class time.
Local control is dismantled; true local control is to have funds for choices and pathways for kids.
The only superintendent to be called by the defense says money matters to student achievement.
There is a consensus about the vital importance of public education, but there are not sufficient resources to meet state requirements
Education breaks the cycle of poverty.
Three primary issues:
What is thorough and uniform?
- Supreme Court set the guidelines
- Increased standards mean increased costs: materials, personnel costs, salary increases.
- Resources have never been correlated with the mandates.
- Accountability is a requirement; it is not aspirational
Is there a rational relationship for school funding?
- Is the finance system rationally related to the requirements?
- State has set a constitutional system of bold measures without reference to the cost of providing those mandated services.
- State has never tried to estimate the costs. There is no rational connection.
- The formula is not fair if the amount of money going into the formula is insufficient.
- Finance act has not responded to the increased mandates.
- Base per pupil has changed without any calculation of the cost.
- Base funding is an afterthought.
- Categoricals no not rationally relate to costs.
- ELL: research says you need 4-7 years. State caps it arbitrarily at 2.
- State share is 17% for special education.
- Structure of SPED is irrational.
- Is possible to cost out the state system (Augenblick has done it)
- Capital Construction–facilities have a direct impact on student achievement
- BEST does not come close to meeting the state’s own estimate of capital need
- A myth.
- Local communities must spend significant local dollars to meet state goals.
We are not asking the court to determine funding at the amounts of the study. We are asking the court to determine our finance system as unconstitutional
Amendment 23 requires funding of the factors, which make our system fair. And we are not doing it.
Fiscal notes on bills rely on gifts, grants and donations.
Plaintiffs do not argue that resources = student achievement. There is no guarantee. But not funding schools guarantees failure.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief…not a financial amount.
System violates local control and the constitutional rights of all plaintiffs.
The system is broken, it is unconstitutional.
But we are losing thousands of kids every day.
The Colorado constitution is not about what is popular; it is about what is right.