Worth a second lookUpdates on recent TOP-Ed blogs
Thoughts from a Weis-man
A few days after the May revise last week, we reported on a budget forum in San Jose sponsored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. In his opening remarks, Santa Clara County School Superintendent Chuck Weis delivered a blunt assessment of California’s public school financing over the past 40 years. He noted that back in 1972, when Ronald Reagan was governor, Californians paid 5.4 percent of their personal income to fund schools. It’s now down to 3.6 percent. But Weis suggests the economy isn’t so much to blame as a flagging commitment to public education.
“We’re paying less for our children’s education than our parents paid for our education,” Weis said. “So when people tell you we can’t afford good education in the state of California, tell them that’s not true. We used to be able to afford it, when one of the most conservative governors we ever had funded it at 5.4 percent.”
Weis’ remarks have since been posted online here, with a transcript here. It’s a provocative speech, warning that California is “cultivating a culture of haves and have-nots,” and admonishing people – whether or not they have children in public schools – to consider the dangers of not providing equal educational opportunities to all children.
“The reality is we are a rich state; eighth largest economy in the world, with one of the poorest school systems,” said Weis. “And so the reality is we need to invest in other people’s children, and we need to be reminded that that’s what adults do. Adults take care of the children, even if they’re not your children.”
Putting remedial education on the fast-track at community colleges
A couple of stories earlier this month (here and here) focused on remedial education at California’s 112 community colleges. In most cases, when students enter the remedial track they step into a sink hole that almost never leads to an Associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year college or university.
The problem seems to be the amount of time students need to spend in these basic skills courses. In many cases it’s two or more semesters of classes that cost money but don’t count toward a degree. Our second story in the set looks at a program at Chabot College in Hayward that’s making huge strides in getting students through remedial education and into college-level courses. You can read about it and listen to it in a radio story we did for KQED Public Radio’s statewide program The California Report.