Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Betraying our children

Still waiting for a decent media writeup on the latest governator attack on California public schools. In the meantime, I see the California School Board Association has responded.
Just hours after members of his cabinet warned the Education Coalition about plans to gut Proposition 98, Gov. Schwarzenegger outlined a series of self-described budget “reforms” in his second state of the state address that would cut state support for schools and other public services.

Implying that taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth from the state’s public schools, Schwarzenegger told lawmakers that California faces an “ education disaster” that can be addressed by awarding merit bonuses to teachers, reducing public pension benefits, eliminating state spending “formulas” and requiring that state spending can never exceed revenues. He reiterated his promise not to raise taxes.

“In California we do not have a revenue problem,” he said. “We have a spending problem.”
The governor did not sketch out specific cuts to schools or discuss his intention to suspend and amend Proposition 98. That news was delivered earlier in the day to CSBA and other members the Education Coalition by Director of Finance Tom Campbell, Secretary of Education Dick Riordan and the governor’s Senior Advisor Bonnie Reiss. The governor will release the specifics of his budget on Monday, Jan. 10.

CSBA President Kerry Clegg and Executive Director Scott P. Plotkin said they were stunned and dismayed to learn that Schwarzenegger does not intend to honor the agreement he made with the coalition to protect future Proposition 98 guarantees to schools.

“This is a very bleak beginning to the new legislative session to say the least,” said Plotkin. “We are left absolutely speechless by his proposal to suspend and amend Proposition 98 and resolve the state’s fiscal troubles at the direct expense of 6 million public schoolchildren.”

Clegg said a number of recent studies show clearly that California’s public schools are starved for resources at the same time that students and teachers are being asked to meet some of the highest academic standards in the country.

The governor’s implication that California schools are over funded is grossly inaccurate, Clegg said, considering that the state ranks 43rd among the 50 states when it comes to per-pupil spending.
It continues.

The governator continues to use up his stash of movie-star credit to push his agenda. Given that most people I know don't really follow the news in any way that is reliably accurate, we'll see how far he gets.

Update: The articles are being posted just now.
Daily Breeze.
KSBW Channel