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Giving Compass' Take:
• Lindsey Burke argues that school choice is a way to address the problems that caused the LA teacher strikes.
• How can funders help to ensure that all students receive high-quality education?
• Learn how school choice contributed to the strikes.
Public school teachers in Los Angeles are on strike, affecting half a million children attending some 900 public schools in the district.
Although students in the Los Angeles Unified School District—the second-largest school district in the country—can still access the schools, classes are being taught by substitute teachers while teachers outside are striking.
Many students are staying home—leaving some parents scrambling for child care.
Among the striking teachers’ demands are increased pay and smaller class sizes, along with regulations on charter schools and a push to increase the number of nonteaching personnel, such as librarians and counselors.
Yet since 1992, nonteaching staff in California has increased nearly 50 percent, greatly outpacing the 24 percent increase in the number of students.
As economist Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State University in Georgia found, had California just kept the nonteaching staff levels on par with increases in student enrollment, the state would have saved nearly $3 billion—which could have gone toward unfunded pension liabilities.
The state’s unfunded pension liability—the gap between benefits owed and funding available for that purpose—was $107 billion in 2018.
That $3 billion also could have funded 373,000 children with $8,000 education savings accounts.
The increase in nonteaching personnel only exacerbates existing spending issues in the district.
Increasing spending and the number of nonteaching personnel, and further regulating education choice options, such as charter schools, will only amplify a failed status quo in California.
Instead, California should immediately empower families to choose learning options that are effective and meet their needs by moving toward increased school choice opportunities.
Read the full article about school choice an answer to teacher strikes by Lindsey Burke at The Heritage Foundation.