Gov. Brown urges us to support a temporary tax increase to fund public education. As a long-time educator, I really want to respond positively, but I am weary. I have seen so much waste along the years that I have become despondent about the future of our children.
At Cal Poly, I have seen the ratio of administrators versus teaching faculty at least triple between 1975 and 2005, and I understand that this situation is typical of most universities and community colleges in the United States. You could hire four well-qualified assistant professors for the price of one of these administrators, and provide courses that are required, but not offered when students need them most.
Administrators’ salaries, from elementary schools through higher education, are inflated, their pensions much too high. For example, the last assistant superintendent to retire from our school district receives a pension of $150,000 a year. This is not unusual; it is typical (you will find information about pensions and salaries on the net) and is due to the fact that the PERS system is based upon how much one makes at the end of his career rather than how much one has contributed in his life-time, thus encouraging corruption.
Meanwhile, students are paying more and more for tuition and fees while getting less and less in education. The same thing can be said for elementary schools, where proficiency in reading and math has dropped to an all-time low.
I believe that adding a small tax increase is like putting a band-aid upon a serious wound. What we need is a serious reform of the entire public educational system, as well as a reform of the PERS system. I would gladly pay any extra tax to see this happen.
-- Odile Ayral - San Luis Obispo