Arizona Ready {hearts} the Performance Funding system it created

by David Safier

Jan Brewer's Arizona Ready Education Council (AREC) is crowing about the Performance Funding model it created, the model I referred to as Educational class warfare, a charge I backed up with examples, then showed how Performance Funding could be restructured to make it more equitable for all schools instead of favoring schools that have students from high income families.

Here's what Arizona Ready says about Performance Funding in its January newsletter:

A specific charge the Governor gave to the Arizona Ready Education Council last year was to fund the results we want to see in education. So, this past year, the Council worked through and delivered a groundbreaking proposal for district and charter per­formance funding. Using the existing A-F Accountability points scale, this proposal will drive student performance by rewarding success and providing incentives for innovation and improvement. A key factor in the Governor's education budget, this funding mecha­nism will be phased in over five years, with the first year expected to cost about $36 mil­lion in new funds.

The paragraph fails to mention that $18.1 million will be taken from current funding for schools and put into the Performance Funding pot. Our schools are already the lowest in per student funding in the country, and these people want to take money away from schools from poor income areas and give it to schools where students from high income families get high AIMS scores just because they're from high income families.

Supporters of this reward-the-winners, punish-the-poor educational model will be working hard to show how it will make everything better. It will be up to educators, informed legislators and the media to reveal what's really going on.

NOTE: Brewer's Executive Budget Summary explains the Performance Funding model, with graphs, on pages 9 and 10.

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