Sunday, June 25, 2006

CA: Check out Schwarzenegger's 'Education Coalition'

Since we already have a bona fide Education Coalition in CA, key players in protecting education funding in California, it seems fitting Team Schwarzenegger came up with their own coalition to shore up their own ed credentials. Thanks to Randy Bayne who catches the sleazy Schwarzenegger attempt at mimicry and deception.

I think it's notable to point out that the Schwarzenegger 'Education Coalition' includes a who's who list of extreme right winger all-stars.

First off, Ron Nehring, the Grover Norquist dude with a long history of Norquista based activism, including heading a national campaign to destroy unions in the US. He is also a school board member in San Diego who has tried to convert all the schools in his school district to charter schools.

Lance Izumi hails from a state-based thinktank aligned with the national coalition, State Policy Network, which coordinates pushing right-winger policy in every state. More info on that coalition here (pdf), especially on how it's done locally in San Diego, and here (pdf). Izumi is the frequent op-ed writer who appears to be the go-to person penning the right winger education talking points in the local newspapers.

Peter Mehas, superintendent of Fresno Schools, was chairman of the CA Republican party for two years and served as Gov. Deukmejian's Secretary of Education.

Kirk Clark is the California Business Roundtable representative. The Business Roundtable has consistently been leaders in supporting NCLB.

Many representatives from charter schools in CA.

For more evidence this is a group of ed supporters live in Schwarzenegger's alternate fantasy world of education, here's the press release from this 'coalition'
"Under Governor Schwarzenegger's leadership, California is investing in education at the highest level in our state's history," said Sandra McBrayer, United States teacher of the year*. "Over the past two and a half years, funding for education has increased by $8.1 billion – to more than $11,000 per student.
$11,000 per student. Wow. I so wish this was true, it hurts.

I think the pathetic thing is that there are people who actually believe these numbers, including (ahem) family, friends, and many well-meaning parents I've encountered. They are flabbergasted and confused when I tell them current CA state funding for schools from the state falls short of providing a quality education. False information like the above fuels this problem.

Amplifying Randy Bayne's points, I'll end with Phil Angelides, the Democratic nominee running against Schwarzenegger for the governorship. Unlike Schwarzenegger, who abandoned education funding at a drop of hat despite his many campaign promises, Angelides has made education a priority. No wonder he's got the backing of the real ed groups in CA.