Patricia and I have been pretty involved in our son’s high school. Admittedly, I’m not as deeply engaged as some. But enough to be very aware of the disaster we are wreaking on our children by neglecting the funding of education.
This past year has been the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Here in California, we are ranked dead last in the nation in spending per student. And the effects of this indifference are everywhere. LA Unified School District has had its budget cut by $640 million, and has been laying off people in droves. 6,300 of them at last count. Those cuts helped spark the battle this spring over out-of-district permits. (For a personal look at the parents’ effort from the inside, take a peek at this great blog: A Fire in My Mouth.)
Santa Monica attempted to compensate for some of the state’s further funding cuts by passing Measure A, a relatively small parcel tax — less than $200 a year — to try to make up some of the $10 million in lost annual revenue. It required a 66% vote. It got 64%. Now Santa Monica-Malibu School District has to fire teachers, increase class size and slash programs.
Waiting for Superman is a new documentary about what’s been happening and (I hope) about what to do to change it. Please take a look, tell your friends and get involved.
We are courting disaster. Our children rank 21st among developed countries in science. 25th in math. Our taxpayers rail against “waste” in our school districts. Our teachers’ unions make it impossible to fire lousy educators. Our priorities are royally messed up, and we are failing our children and our country’s future. There simply has to be a better way.