View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: To Ease California`s Education, Budget Woes—End Immigration!
Lodi Unified School District passed
budget for next year by using $7.7 million in
State Fiscal Stabilization Funding from the federal
government, what will happen in future years as
California`s financial crisis grows is unclear—and
Unified Passes $246 Million Budget, by Jennifer
Bonnet, Lodi News-Sentinel, June 16, 2009]
The deep and ongoing cuts in
California`s education funding are
an assault on what was once the most progressive
system in the country.
Exactly 160 years ago,
Robert Semple, the president of the
California Constitutional Convention, said: “If
the people are to govern themselves, they should be
qualified to do it. They must be educated, they must
educate their children; they must provide means for the
diffusion of knowledge and the progress of enlightened
Where, oh where, have those “enlightened
While more than 370,000 California
high school seniors graduated in 2008, the state
ranks only 40th nationwide in its rate of high school
graduates that enter college.
in five students dropped out of a California high school
last year—about the same as the year before, according
Superintendent Jack O`Connell. [California`s
High School Drop Out Rate at 20 Percent, by
Nanette Asminov, San Francisco Chronicle, May 9,
Think about all the millions of taxpayer dollars
essentially wasted on those failed students during
their primary school years.
Although California is the nation`s
wealthiest state and home to 20 percent of the world`s
billionaires, teachers live on the margin. The state`s
approach to mending
education`s never-ending crisis—cutting jobs and
mandating pay cuts—guarantees that teaching will be an
ever less attractive career for those high school
students who actually
make it to college and might be inclined to pursue
College-bound students are
increasingly fewer. In 2008, the
Policy Institute of California conducted
a survey in which 84 percent of Californians
responded that affording college is “somewhat of a
problem” for today`s students while 53 percent
called it a “big problem.” Sixty-six percent of
those surveyed believed that the cost of a college
education prevents qualified students from enrolling.
One big reason: the
Postsecondary Education Commission found that 18
percent of public college graduates and 29 percent of
private college graduates have debt that would exceed
manageable levels by accepting a job with earnings
equivalent to a teacher`s starting salary.
As it is, California teachers have
only the 32nd highest salaries in the country when
adjusted for cost of living. And like most teachers
nationwide, they frequently pay out of pocket for
basic classroom tools like pencils and paper.
continuing assaults on public education undermine
the living standards of teachers and school
administrators. But more critically, virtually every
California resident is
negatively impacted because all rely, directly or
indirectly, on public schools, colleges and universities
to secure a decent education for their children and, as
a result, to contribute to society`s common good.
California`s budget shortfall in its
present form stems from the housing and high-tech
collapses. But when it comes to money for education, as
the old saying goes, “it`s always something.”
At this late date, Californians can do
little to reverse education`s downhill trend.
However, I`ll recommend the
same solution I have put forward for more than
twenty years: smaller families,
stricter controls on in-migration and
tougher enforcement of existing immigration laws,
all three of which would immediately ease the pressure
on California`s soaring population.
And, returning to another related theme that I have
promoted for as long as I can remember, California`s
multiple social pressures would be alleviated if the
state had fewer residents.
But does anyone out there listen?
is a California native who recently fled the state
because of over-immigration, over-population and a
rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to
Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth
A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the