I truly recommend this often eye-bleeding dull literature list to my fellow teachers. It keeps you from being surprised when a new policy comes down or your district decides that the annual teacher layoffs should also challenge the Ed Code. When principals pushing a point of view claim the school can't afford something the community and staff want, being able to pull out the numbers - and explain how restricted and unrestricted monies work - makes you a fabulous advocate.
Some important state and local information sources:
- The Governor's Budget Proposal. Don't make the rookie mistake of assuming this is the budget; this is what the Governor's policy and finance people think sounds good. The state Legislature and lobbyists never agree in toto. So following state political news is important. The Governor must also offer some revisions based on state revenues: this is the May revise. Some school districts - including SFUSD - are fond of using the prospect of the revise or its contents to explain why they laid you off. Knowing what the revise actually says helps when drafting one's comment to the Board.
- The Legislative Analyst's Office Publications. Mac Taylor and crew crunch the Governor's numbers and provide the Legislature easy-to-read analysis. Since the Governor's calculations are often suspect, this is an important information source. It is my opinion that the LAO has an anti-education funding bias. They also recently came out against tenure - not for equity reasons, but to get on the education reform performance evaluation bandwagon.
- Publications of the Board of Education. The agendas - which generally upload after business hours on the Friday before Board meetings - provide all kinds of interesting information (for instance, looks like we'll officially have Superintendent Carranza tomorrow evening). The minutes and K resos are also of interest; the minutes are uploaded irregularly but following K resos lets you follow the money.
- Other publications on the District website. You can also take a look at the annual "sky is falling, cut teachers" analysis of the budget. It looks like the beyondthetalk.org site (which hosted all the Balanced Scorecards) is dead, but the Data Center still lets you look at a lot of stuff.
- In fact, I recommend hunting around the SFUSD website - you can find the most interesting projects there.