May 19th, 2009 is a very significant date in terms of the future of California education. With the budget cuts that have been enacted over the past year already destroying school districts throughout the state, we are now faced with the possibility of of a catastrophic meltdown of the state's education funding system. Simply put, the election on May 19th may very well be the beginning of the end of education in CA as we know it.
Now it may sound like I am being overly dramatic but consider this. If you have a child who is between the ages of 2-5 the odds on them being in a classroom with 30+ kids all with one teacher and no aides or other support are very real. One of the first things that most districts cut with the last round of budget reductions was the Class Sized Reduction numbers for K-3 classes. Under the old rules, class size was mandated at 25 students per teacher. Now, there are very little penalties in place for schools that do not adhere to these guidelines so it allows schools to reduce staff, save money and still service all it's students. This is by no means a good plan. Every teacher will tell you that fewer students is always better for the overall learning environment. But these are the realities that we face. And it's about to get worse. If the Props are not passed on May 19th we could be faced with another multi billion dollar cut to education funding. Large scale programs will be affected and basic services will become harder to give to all students.
Now no one likes taxes. Lord knows since I became a homeowner I cringe every time anyone starts talking about raising property taxes. But an increase in the Sales tax (as proposed by Prop 1A) will go directly to education funding (as proposed by Prop 1B). If 1A fails, the 1B fails as well. Props 1C, 1D, and 1E are also in line with shoring up the education funding system so that all students get what they need to succeed in life.
Think about where you would be without your education. We all had that teacher that inspired us and challenged us to reach our full potential. I was fortunate enough to have several outstanding teachers (Mr. Corigliano, Mrs. Ebey, Mr. Metternich, and Mr. Anderson to name a few) and I shudder to think what I might have turned out as if any of them had not been around when I got to their classroom door. I have watched my wife work miracles with groups of seven year olds teaching them how to read and write and become passionate about learning.
The questions before you on May 19th are simple. What kind of education should your child get? What is the price of that kind of education? Shouldn't we all share in the fiscal responsibility to give all children a chance to become what their potential says that can be? Are you okay with risking the next generation because you don't want to pay a little more for a candy bar?
Do the right thing and support education on May 19th. VOTE YES ON PROPS 1A-1E.
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