Opinions

Our View-California education continues ‘dumbing’ children

California is going down the tubes. There is no doubt that the state needs money and our governor can’t seem to make anything happen in Sacramento.

Last year the Daily Forty-Niner reported on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts to education, and time and time again we have shouted against such detrimental cuts.

When education takes a hit we all take a hit. Having an uneducated society is the worst economic plan there is. How many times do we have to write this before someone realizes we are right? Education must be funded and made available to all who seek it.

In the last 20 years, manufacturing jobs are down 6 percent. On the other hand, professional, business, education, health, leisure and hospitality jobs have increased.

This calls for an educated workforce. According to Tom Mortenson’s report “California at the Edge of a Cliff” for the California Faculty Association, “the failure to invest in public higher education is crushing the economy and crippling our kids’ future.” California is on a fast track to mediocrity.

Mortenson also reports that California is ranked 14th in the nation in college graduates 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree. In 1989 we were eighth and in 1981 we were first.

We continually fall behind the other states in rankings, and now that the world’s gone global, we’ve begun to pale in comparison to other countries. We are one of the largest most populated states in this great nation and we’ve been caught slipping.

California now ranks as low as 49th in certain educational standards. We produce fewer high school and college graduates than many other states by population comparison. College continuation for high school graduates has decreased by more than 20 percent, and college participation rates for students from low-income families declined almost 9 percent between 1997 and 2006.

Mortenson reports that the “future of the worker relies on the attainment of a higher education.” It’s simple supply and demand; we have a demand for workers with an education yet are producing fewer college graduates, so our supply is waning miserably. Unfortunately, it seems the government and the California State University chancellor care less and less about this decline.

We were on the right track before the year 2000. That’s weird. What could have happened in that year that would have caused such a downturn in education?

Perhaps an increase of minorities and low-income students has something to do with it. Minorities are now the majority in K-12 classrooms. Many minority students need funding and, if the money continues to be slashed, we will have a large part of our population uneducated.

According to Mortenson’s report, California needs to act now by investing in education, which will in turn benefit the state’s future. We have to provide an educational system that works. If we keep yanking money out of it, it will never get there.

Sacramento is talking about $6 billion in spending cuts that would directly affect higher education and vital healthcare programs. Cutting those programs, however, will create a bigger money problem and an even greater social problem.

Hey “Gov,” why don’t you try some other tactics to help us out of this slump? Take President Barack Obama’s lead and suspend or cut your own pay. How about acting on the advice given in Mortenson’s performance review? It would help save $32 billion over five years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Something has to be done or California will continue to plunge below acceptable levels in ratings, money and life style.

 

One Comment

  1. Reform the way schools and teachers educate their students. If schools were a lot more flexible and emphasized students’ educational strengths as well as bolster their disadvantages in learning (every student excels in one or more style of learning and doesn’t do well in others), then we’d be a hell of a lot better off. Plus, piling on homework and being very inflexible alienates many of our students.

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