The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Schools Cheat Children … Once Again

Apr 8, 2024

In an open letter to California’s governor and superintendent of education, leaders of unions representing school workers, including the SEIU, Teamsters, and two teachers’ unions, point out that many California schools are not providing the funding for arts and music education required by state law.

Proposition 28, which voters passed by a two-to-one margin in 2022, requires that one percent of the state’s public education budget be designated as additional funding for arts and music education. The extra funding is no doubt badly needed: after years of deep cuts, only about one in five schools in California had a full-time art or music teacher in 2022.

It was school workers who revealed that many schools are cheating—by using the funds provided by Prop 28 for already existing programs without expanding them and keeping the extra money.

The letter did not name specific schools or school districts, but the president of UTLA, the Los Angeles Teachers Union, did say that L.A. Unified was one of the violators of Prop 28. L.A. Unified is not only the largest school district in California; it also has a very large, low-income, working-class student population—and the shortage of art and music teachers affects, first and foremost, schools in low-income areas.

The letter points to some of the tricks district and school officials stoop to in cheating their students in art and music classes. But it’s nothing new for politicians and officials to withhold funding from schools, especially working-class schools, including funding required by law.