March 11, 2005

Editorial:

Govenor Rates a Failing Grade in Education!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is finally taking on an issue that he is fully qualified to tackle: obesity! Of course, we find this a little ironic, fighting for the health of your children, while at the same time promoting steroids via his body building exhibitions. Additionally, and at the same time, admitting “no regrets” through his personal use of steroids. A mixed message here!

Obesity is a problem not only with today’s youth, but also with society in general. We do not want to minimize the problem; we recognize it as a major health issue. But to legislate junk food off high school campuses is no more than just a symbolic gesture by the Governor. We wish it were that simple.

The Governor is right; junk food should not be sold on campuses! We have argued against this practice, in the past. But it appears that school districts have found themselves in-between a rock, and a hard spot, which has forced their hand. It is a constant struggle for schools to meet the demands of parents, who want computers at every desk, and to meet the standards set by politicians. The “No Child Left Behind” act demands accountability but does not fully fund the program.

Schools are left with the responsibility of filling the funding gap created by the “No Child Left Behind”. This is done in many ways. Speak to the teachers. They will quickly tell you that they spend hundreds of their own dollars every year to pay for school supplies and materials required to meet the standards. The politicians in Washington set unrealistic standards that require lots of money to carry out but which they don’t provide!

Not surprising, very few of the California Lottery dollars trickle down to teachers. The California Lottery is a sham. The only ones that don’t have a say on creating a school budget are the elected members of the District Board of Trustees. Education is failing since financing and running the education of our children became a politically controlled entity of the State and Washington D.C.

To try and fill the budget gaps, school districts, individual schools, and teachers have had to get creative to attract dollars into their districts and classrooms. To accomplish this monumental task school districts have turned to gimmicks such as vending machines to try and achieve the goals set upon them.

The Governor needs to quickly increase the monetary stream going to our schools. The State should immediately put the $2.3 billion back into the education budget, which are owed to the schools from last year under Prop. 98, that he used to balance the state budget. The Governor, with the support of our elected State Legislators, raided the educational system, denying our school children the funding necessary to provide them with a sound education! California, is spending $600 less per student than the national average. For example the state of New York spends $12,000 per student per year whereas California is spending $8,000!

If the Governor is really serious about dealing with the obesity issue, he should provide the funding to get physical education back into the curriculum! Legislating junk food off campus is nice symbolism but let us back it up with some real action. The governor likes to portray himself as someone who takes on issues upfront and straight forward, he should tackle this issue straight on and quit playing around the edges on this issue.

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