California’s public school system, which once led the nation in education, now stands near the bottom of the list. Our schools are failing and approximately one out of every four students drops out before finishing high school, according to the California Department of Education (CDE).
In many parts of the state, schools have drastically deteriorated from trying to meet the needs of a rapidly growing immigration-driven, non-English speaking student population.
While enrollment in California schools is leveling off and even declining in some areas according to the CDE, the percentage of Hispanic students is at 50% and growing. More than 24 percent of K-12 students were English learners in 2010-2011, and about 85% of the English learners speak Spanish.
Based on the latest data available, K-12 education accounted for the largest share of California’s budget—over 50% percent of General Fund expenditures in 2010-2011. As a result of the current budget crisis, Governor Brown's budget significantly reduced funding for California’s school districts. Even with these cuts, the budget for 2010-2011 provides per–pupil funding (PPF) of $8,452.
The number of illegal immigrant students filling California’s classrooms is unknown; however, even if it’s a small fraction of our current population of over 39 million, the costs are in the billions of dollars.