Is it just me, or is Schwarzenegger immune to criticism? Would not any other governor be skewered over this kind of flip-floppery? Extended quotes from an opinion piece by Steve Lopez for the LA Times:
I keep thinking it’s going to be impossible for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to outdo himself, and he keeps reminding me never to underestimate him.
For two years, he’s been telling us public education in California is one of his top priorities. In his State of the State speech Wednesday, he said schools are a disaster, with 30% of high school students dropping out. This followed a grim Rand Corp. report that gave California schools lousy grades for funding and student achievement.
So what’s Big Boy going to do about it? Take an ax to education funding. Yeah, that oughta get Johnny reading.
“Devastating,” state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said of the $2.2-billion cut expected when Schwarzenegger’s budget is released Monday.
And do you know how Schwarzenegger, who keeps saying he represents the will of the people, is going to make that $2.2-billion cut? He’s going to trample on Proposition 98, the education funding protection approved by California voters.
In California, state spending per pupil has gone from among the highest in the nation, before Proposition 13, to the company of backwater cellar-dwellers.
Money alone can’t fix the schools, but the wealthiest state in human history ought to be ashamed of its status as a national laggard.
Parents of means, like Arnold and Maria and their pals, don’t have to worry. They have the choice of shelling out for private school or moving to one of the handful of well-heeled communities where public schools actually work. Parents without means? Good luck and God bless.
“Ninety-nine percent of California’s kids are in districts spending less than the national average. California is No. 8 or 9 in terms of personal income per capita, and we are down around 30 or 40 in the country in the percentage of income we devote to education.”
Don’t count me among the naive who think that the problem of California education can be solved by money alone – the problems are more complex than that. But I know for damn sure we’re not going to fix their sorry state by de-funding them. And I also know that if the state of CA education continues to decline (as hard as that is to imagine), California will become an ignorance factory. Thanks for looking after our state, Arnold. You really showed that Gray Davis guy a thing or two.
I’m ready for my recall now, dahlink.