K-12 school rankings make it difficult for students looking to transfer

Sarah Becraft

California state k-12 schools have been given a much lower achievement rank than other schools throughout the country. Classrooms have a high teacher-to-student ratio, and the state spends a lot of money on state tests that many teachers consider asinine.

The statistics indicate that there are many reasons for suffering state scores at the K-12 grade levels. California has many English-Second-Language (ESL) students and English-Language-Learners (ELL) compared to the rest of the nation. State tests are only offered in English – which gives ESL or ELL students a harder time to do well in California required state exams.

Larger student-to-teacher ratios at the lower levels give students in need of extra help a chance to obtain it. Because of this, many learning disabilities go undiagnosed as laziness.

School funding in many areas, such as teacher salaries, is higher than other states according to “California School Finance” but is a result of the high costs of living in the state.

California teachers are not always best suited for the job. Higher salaries are tied directly into the higher cost of living for the area.

In spite of these problems, the higher education system is an entirely different world. There is a lot of public and private funding dedicated to research and development in universities. The students and teachers of California universities tend to be high achievers as shown by the demanding admissions requirements for many schools. As a result, universities in California overall have high ratings, even universities such as the Universities of California Santa Barbara and Irvine which have only been in existence about forty years.

“It’s an incredibly desirable place to live,” said Mariko Carandang, 22, a humanities student at UCI. “Because of this, universities here can attract prestigious faculty and prospective students quite easily.”

“[California State Universities] and UC schools accept most of their students from affluent middle to upper-middle class families that send their children to private schools or well-funded K-12 schools,” Carandang said.

“On the other hand, the majority of K-12 education houses a dense population of children from undocumented workers which tends to lower the quality of schooling in poorer areas where funding is meager. This dynamic is a class and race issue and is uncompensated for by California’s meager K-12 public school funding,” Carandang said.

Our K-12 education system, as pointed out by teachers in the public-education system as well as college students and professors, is not equally funded or spread across the state. California’s suburban or otherwise higher-end neighborhoods get passable state scores and receive more funding for their schools or districts in comparison to suffering schools. Schools in areas of California that have more ESL and ELL students tend to receive lower scores, cutting down on funds given to them.

Since all of California’s universities have so many more applicants per quarter than people they can accept, it’s easy to have a pool of students selected that will raise the university’s prestige. Many universities in California have no need to accept students that fit into the lower realm of California education -the universities still get more applicants per quarter than they can accept.

On USA Today’s Web site, Justin Pope, wrote an article in 2007 about how the California education system is one of the best for making sure students are more diverse and that more students can afford college. According to Pope, however, California is near the bottom of getting students out of college with degrees or transfer to a four-year university.

Many students take up to six years to acquire an Associate’s Degree, let alone transfer to a UC or CSU school. The cost of living requires many students to focus more on work than on their education. Many students attend part-time, every other semester, or attend full-time consistently, but with the minimum required units needed to be a full-time student (12 units). The minimum amount of units required to be a full-time student who will graduate “on time” is at least 15 units, so many end up in school longer before graduation or transferring to a four-year California college.

The California college level system works on making education more affordable, causing it to lose some ability to fund programs that would help students having a more difficult time finishing and moving on to a four-year institution. Raising costs could hinder the ability for many students to attend.

Teresa Ruiz, a CSU representative, said many students in the K-12 system who might fall into the category of being un-eligible for college acceptance may be finished with their education after high school, or have plans besides an education through one of the state’s universities.

Ruiz had no comment on whether or not the CSU system felt K-12 education needed any reform.

As a result of the demand, the different university systems of California usually have the disclaimer on Web sites, applications, or elsewhere that a person who only has the minimum required Grade-Point Average (GPA) and courses for acceptance will probably not gain acceptance into the university they are applying to.

Whether or not California has an appropriate amount of colleges says much about why higher-education facilities are ranked higher than K-12 education systems.

The evidence indicates that California has so many applicants over-qualified for admission that universities of the state do not have to accept many people who only meet minimum requirements.

Many more students are trying to get into college than California’s colleges have room for, so different universities in California are not affected by the inadequate funding and education in many California K-12 schools. California has several K-12 students looking at going into high level education, with many of them not being accepted immediately out of high school. Even those that are accepted sometimes find it difficult to be placed in their desired major due to over-crowding and impaction.

Some K-12 students have alternate means of finishing their academic careers, but so many are above and beyond the academic call of duty that those with more difficult accessibility do not tend to influence the ratings and achievements the California university system.

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