The funding and legislative support for education in California has been slowly declining for the past 20 years. We are now ranked 46th in the nation for per-pupil spending. Even more dramatic declines have taken place in the last three years. In this period, more than $20 billion has been cut from our schools and colleges, and we have lost about 40,000 teachers and support staff.
This is especially troublesome because of the demographic shifts we have experienced in California. The poverty levels and number of second-language-learners in our schools has increased exponentially, and the middle class no longer has access to an affordable college education. Instead of cutting, we should be increasing our support with massive amounts of funding to our schools to meet these challenges.
This crisis in public education should be unacceptable in a state like California that has such wealth and natural resources. The concept of “noble obligation” to assist with those who are less fortunate does not even enter the discussion. I am reminded of a quote by Garrison Keillor: “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.” The key to upward mobility and a place in the middle class has always been a strong public education system. What are we doing to our children; what are we doing to their future; what are we doing to this country?
-- Frank DePasquale - Cambria