California Education: Our Smallest Citizens Pay the Biggest Price

Melissa Fox, candidate for the California Assembly for the 70th Assembly District (Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest,  Newport Beach and Tustin) posted this blog on her website yesterday in support of the statewide Day of Action to Defend Education.

We think Melissa hits the nail on the head about our smallest citizens paying the biggest price for California’s budget crisis, and we want to share her post with you:

“When it comes to California’s budget crisis, our smallest citizens pay the biggest price.

We hear a lot of talk in the media today about California’s “failing” schools – schools with high drop out rates, violence and safety issues, and low test scores.

But in the five school districts in my Assembly District – Irvine, Tustin, Saddleback, Newport-Mesa and Capistrano – “failing” schools is not the problem.

Our local schools are not “failing.”

Our leaders are failing our schools.

Over the past three years, our local school districts have been hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts, and the future looks worse, not better.

The devastation done to our schools by these massive budget cuts – the damage done to our children and our communities – is almost beyond comprehension.

  • Our class sizes, already the largest in the nation, are increasing.
  • Hundreds of teaching positions have been cut, and more teachers will lose their jobs.
  • Our music and art programs have been eliminated.
  • Our sports programs have been cut and parents are asked to contribute even more
  • Gifted and Talented programs are being eliminated.
  • English as a Second Language and adult education programs are disappearing.
  • School libraries cannot purchase new books and are being shut down.
  • Maintenance services are being cut so our schools are dirtier and less safe.
  • School nurses are being cut, leaving our children without medical attention in an emergency.
  • School bus services are being slashed.
  • And we’ve even cut our school crossing guards – resulting in at least one instance in Tustin of a child being hit by car.

It is not an exaggeration to say that we have abandoned our children.

Some politicians claim that our schools do not need more money, and that what is needed instead is simply more local control of how school budgets are allocated.

Tell that to my son, whose sixth grade classroom does not have enough pencils and paper for the 35 students in his class.

Tell that to his teachers, who are already overworked and struggling to teach more children with fewer resources every year.

I am in favor of more local control, but it is absurd to say that our schools are not being crippled by hundred of millions of dollars in budget cuts.

Across the state, students, parents, teachers and staff are participating in a “Day of Action” focusing on rolling back the nearly $2 billion in tax cuts for large corporations shamefully passed by our legislature last year.

Not only are our students suffering, but the two largest employers in the 70th District are the University of California, Irvine and the Irvine Unified School District, so when these schools lose funding, we lose jobs.

In the Assembly, I will fight to bring money back for education into our school districts – instead of seeing that money go to other cities’ or counties’ schools because of our local legislators’ “anti-public education” philosophy.

Help me stop the devastation of public education in our communities by donating to my campaign for change in Sacramento.

Our schools deserve someone who will fight for fair and adequate funding.

Our priorities must change, and our children and our future must come first in our state’s budget, not last.

Our children are depending on us to save their schools.

We can no longer afford to force them to pay the highest price for our political and budget failures.

When it comes to California’s budget crisis, our smallest citizens shouldn’t have to pay the highest price.

Donate now to my campaign and we’ll fight together for our childen’s future.

Melissa Fox

Candidate for California Assembly, 70th Assembly District”

  12 comments for “California Education: Our Smallest Citizens Pay the Biggest Price

  1. Jo
    March 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Public schools need to be defunded because of the failure to educate. Parental “choice” in education through vouchers for private education would cost taxpayers less and improve outcomes. The teacher union scam in “education as a right” is a crock since it only applies to monetarily lining the pockets of inept union educators. Unions are large corporations with goals of advancing its own administrative power rather than producing the best available service or product. Andy Stern state “workers of the world unite” and has a goal of increasing union membership worlwide,sounds like corporate expansion to me, union fat cats!


  2. Michael
    March 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you, Jo, for nicely articulating the Republican position on public education, and reminding every parent, student, and teacher in our district why it is so important to vote for Melissa Fox.

    • V
      March 15, 2010 at 10:22 am

      So what is your position then? Or are you spouting your party line without any actual facts?

  3. Jo
    March 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Failing schools are led by liberal educators who vote Democrat and have a main interest in perpetuating their largess and lining their pockets. These large union corporations have held our children hostage to their own agenda, tenure shoud be eliminated. We do not allow incompetent Doctors to practice medicine, we hould not allow incompetent teachers to teach. It is a vicious cycle at the expense of children. Throwing money at union educators is not the answer, everyone of the teachers in failing schools need to be fired and reapply for their positions after taking a competency test on the subject matter they are teaching. If these progressives would quit spending time on pushing and indoctrinating students into mindless lockstep of their own agenda and start teaching relevant material grounded in real science and real history instead of Al Gore faulty science and revisionist history, only then will outcomes improve. Parents at every level need to demand textbooks be used and followed in schools so it can enable parents to see what children are being taught. Parents also need to call to task any and all drivel that is being passed off as legitimate material and demand school board accountability. California, looking at your situation from over 2000 miles away in a more objective view, you need to change the status quo to survive. Do not expect the rest of America to bail you out, Californians you need to take responsibility and get yourself out of the mess you have created or you will not survive.

  4. Howard be my name
    March 7, 2010 at 11:40 am

    “We do not allow incompetent Doctors to practice medicine, we hould not allow incompetent teachers to teach.”

    I agree. But how do we tell when a teacher is incompetent?

    I volunteer at a school in Anaheim where the kids are nearly all from low-income families. The teachers are very dedicated but the students’ test scores are much lower than in neighboring wealthy neighborhoods.

    Does this mean the teachers at the Anaheim school are incompetent but the teachers at the wealthy school are good? (Hint: no.)

    Good teaching can’t completely make up for lack of family support, parents who are poorly educated themselves, bad nutrition, or a home life that doesn’t help or even allow a student to do homework.

    Most students in wealthy areas do well even when their teachers are lousy. I’ve been in classrooms where the kids knew more than the teacher about the subject. But those teachers will never be branded as “incompetent” because the kids will keep doing well in SPITE of their teachers.

  5. Jo
    March 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Competencies can be measured based on achievable goals, example, is the teacher capable of verbalizing the correct subject material? Is the teacher able to explain and brak down complex material? Is the teacher willng to help students who seem to be falling behind? Is the teacher able to identify students who may need remediation and put in place an action plan for that student? etc. The problem is that when incompetency is proven ,if the teacher has tenure, it is virtually impossible to remove them from service. The big teacher union corporations protect them and give them longevity pay raises. Absurd. Why is it that private schools can educate poor students and are able to have success at less cost?

    • Howard be my name
      March 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

      I agree, Jo, that that’s a pretty good list of things a teacher ought to be able to do. But I think an evaluation based on those criteria has to be a subjective one. For example, “Is the teacher able to explain and break down complex material?” I was taking a community college class recently and had a teacher about whom I would answer “no” to that question, but other students in the class would have answered “yes.”

      I also agree that it’s hard to get rid of a teacher who has passed the probationary period. So why don’t more poor teachers get fired during their probationary period? As far as I can tell, there are two reasons: one, principals and department heads who find firing inconvenient (ie. they have no balls), and two, severe shortages of certain kinds of teachers.

      My experience in teacher shortages is somewhat limited, but it seems that the worst shortages are in math and science at all schools. In low-income schools there are shortages in all areas and all levels because the work is so hard and there is so little community support for what teachers do.

      In difficult economic times, both of these seem to improve. But it quickly gets worse again when the economy turns up. Math and science folks get private sector jobs and teachers in poor schools take jobs in wealthier districts.

      • Jo
        March 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

        I disagree, there are poor performing teachers in all districts. They need to be weeded out. It goes back to my original question , why is it that private schools can educate children, even poor children with successful results and less cost?

        • V
          March 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm

          I want to know why there was no answer from the so called “progressives” on my cannabis legalization question. Jello got your spine or are you toting the party line of BushBama on the Drug War with talking points derived from some pathetic blog? Do you support the city of Lake Forest’s decision to close of medicinal marijuana dispensaries in your backyard of Lake Forest and the current DEA raids on the dispensaries?

        • Howard be my name
          March 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

          Yes, there are poor performing teachers in all districts.

          “why is it that private schools can educate children, even poor children with successful results and less cost?”

          Because the families who send their kids to private schools are more committed to their children’s education, and because the private schools can get rid of students who are disruptive or difficult to educate.

  6. Guy Fawkes
    March 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Want to stimulate the economy and get us out of the budget pickle? Legalize marijuana and vote YES the Tax Cannabis proposition this November. Not only would we be able to reduce prison overcrowding with the number of people jailed for possessing a dimebag, we could use the tax revenue to help fund education and infrastructure in this state.

    Or we can continue to funnel billions of dollars into this failed Drug War, create a further divide in race relations, stuff the prisons to overflow capacity and allow for civil liberties to be violated.

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