The Daily Press report indicating that "about 60 percent of new freshmen entering California State University campuses are not prepared for college math or English level classes, according to Cal State officials," comes as no surprise, particularly when California has performed so poorly in educating our students, for so long. Which begs for an answer to the question: how unprepared for life and work are high school graduates who are not entering college?
As a property owner and taxpayer, forced to be heavily invested in the losing proposition of public education, I am deeply concerned about a California system that is graduating high school students who are functionally illiterate. In effect, that is stealing taxpayer funds and robbing students of their education.
But what else is new with the long term education decline in America? It's been 22 years since the 1983 national education commission report, "A Nation at Risk" was released, concluding that our schools faced a "rising tide of mediocrity."
And what has the California education establishment done about it since then? Other than a little hand-wringing in 1989, not much. Instead, education declined even further, continuing to replace core curriculums with reckless experimentation, political indoctrination and the reconstruction of history.
Worse, public education is guaranteed at least 40 percent of California's tax revenue, no thanks to foolish voters who passed Proposition 98 making it a constitutional amendment. That comes to around $50 billion taxpayer dollars this year, nearly half the state budget, not including the state and local bond measures that are passed during every election, putting state taxpayers into even deeper debt.
Our so-called education system has simply become giant hog addicted to the term, "feed me," regardless of what the hog does or doesn't do. The education establishment is replete with costly administrative bureaucracies and teachers unions resistant to any change, as evidenced by the demonizing defeat of a voucher initiative in the 90's and another in 2000.
So, it's left to the voters to decide. We could repeal Proposition 98 with a voter initiative, pass a measure to allow vouchers for school choice, and move toward privatizing education, which could give our students twice or three times the education at half the cost or less. Or, we can do nothing and allow the school bandits to continue helping themselves to our pockets, while education languishes in mediocrity and increasing drop-out rates. Our children are certainly worth more than that. Either educate them, or answer to them later in a bad way. That's what has been going on for years and it's frightening.