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Seems as if a new spending cut to education is discovered every day. While administrators and school board members across the state have grown accustomed to handing out pink slips, increasing class size, and selling off valuable school assets in order to fill massive deficits, state legislators and the Governor have also slashed popular education programs as a way to save money.

In late June when Governor Jerry Brown signed the final state budget, he included a line-item veto that cut funding for the AVID College Readiness System, a popular nationwide education program with headquarters in San Diego.

The program assists more than 155,000 students in 1,400 schools across the state struggling to get above-average grades by teaching them new ways to study. The program also helps disadvantaged youth and those in poor neighborhoods apply for college.

California has been the only state in the nation to fully fund the program. But that will end after this coming school year -- the California Regional System has agreed to help fund the program for the 2012/2013 school year. After this school year, school districts will be on their own.

According to a spokesperson from the AVID Center, each school site wishing to use the program will be required to pay an annual membership fee of $3,300, cheaper for some districts based on the number of schools. In addition to the cost, a principal or district administrator will be needed to oversee the program.

Currently 43 middle and high school sites in San Diego Unified School District use the program.

"We are now working with school districts to provide transition to the national model," said a company spokesperson.

And as for the impact it will have on the AVID Center, the spokesperson said it is still too early to predict. "We will have to see how many schools see the value the program and stay with AVID. It will definitely have some impact because California is the most populous state with the highest number of schools."

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Visduh Aug. 5, 2012 @ 9:24 p.m.

Why the state needed a bureaucracy to implement the ideas of AVID is a question that should be asked. It should be asked why the state needs all the bureaucracies that it now has, because many of these things are simple and can be implemented by existing agencies. So it is with AVID. The concepts of AVID are well known, having been assembled by some pioneering teachers, and then rendered into book form. Anyone who can read and/or visit a school with a functioning AVID program could soon establish one at any other school, providing the proper clientele is available. In other words, any school district should be able to set up and run its own AVID classes with no outside help or interference.

So what is it? It is a program of intensive preparation for college study. What makes that any different from most high school classes? The clientele are students (not necessarily minorities) who are generally disadvantaged while possessing high potential, as revealed by standardized tests. In nearly all cases, they will be the first generation in their families to attend college. They get some extra help, and work in a motivated group of fellow students of similar background. Ideally they don't participate unless they are willing to do more than average effort, and the parents should "sign on" to the program, too.

The students are encouraged to use some tools to become more effective students, such as the Cornell Notes method of taking class notes.

And what does AVID stand for? "Advancement Via Individual Determination" is the name. Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about bureaucratic acronyms, and how these names mean nothing to the layperson.


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