Sunday, March 26, 2006

CA: When Schwarzenegger focuses on education, read the fine print

Just like BushCo, whenever our Governor focuses on something, there's a catch. Now that Schwarzenegger has decided to be public education's best friend, I don't buy it.

For the governor, who has no major opponent in the Republican primary, the turn to education appears aimed partly at minimizing his eventual challenger's presumed edge on an issue that typically favors Democrats.

"If you assume that the public employee unions are going to come after him this year as hard as they went after him last year, it's going to be very tough for Schwarzenegger to win on the education issue," said Republican strategist Dan Schnur, who does not work for the governor. "But by spending time and energy talking about education, he can turn it into something more neutral."
It can be neutralizing, especially when the photo-ops and headlines make it seem he's truly and sincerely interested in public education.

However, I've noticed when Schwarzenegger focuses on education, there's usually a careful focus on (charter) school achievement (they are so wonderful) and the need to build more (charter) schools. Of course, this detail doesn't get into the headlines of the major articles.

Let me dream and suggest the media provide some real balanced reporting: show his real education record. From a local editorialist (mind you, I haven't always agreed with this guy):
What, actually, has Arnold done over the last two years? First, he presided over adoption of a budget that deliberately deprived public schools of money they were entitled to, promising to repay it the next year.
Second, he used bonds to balance the state budget with borrowed money. And third, he ran four hugely unsuccessful ballot initiative campaigns aiming to reduce the influence of labor unions, make life more difficult for young schoolteachers and halt automatic increases in most state spending. At the same time, his current budget calls for automatic hikes in funding for his own office staff, now almost near $20 million.
I think the Governor has a sorry education record to stand on. Maybe he's hoping we'd forget and forgive but I'm not going to, especially when he's now quietly pushing (charter) schools.