Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to spend $1 billion to help California schools prepare to teach new national standards is getting a warm welcome by school officials, particularly those in small districts.
Districts across the state have been hurriedly training educators to teach to new national standards - commonly called the Common Core. Some have been at it for years, but many have yet to begin. They often lack money to pay for training and materials to teach to the new standards.
School districts also must find funds to pay for computers and the infrastructure to support the computer-assisted testing that begins in 2014-15.
Small districts in rural areas have even fewer resources than urban districts, which often have more funds and nearby benefactors, said Fred Adam, a board member for the Small School Districts Association told the Bee recently.
"It will be a major challenge for small districts," Adam said. "It's a disadvantage when there are no computer companies around."
He said small districts have little money to pay for supplemental materials to help teach the standards and for the workshops needed to train teachers.
Educators in small districts are excited about the new standards nonetheless, Adam said. "I haven't spoken to a single administrator and teacher that thinks it's a bad idea," he said.
Assembly Democrats and teachers union leaders have been calling for extra money to help districts prepare for the new standards for months. Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, said it cost $10 billion to put the previous state mandates in place in 1997.