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Wilson and Brown

October 05, 1994

Regarding the commentaries, "Bringing California's Schools Into the 21st Century," by Pete Wilson and Kathleen Brown, Sept. 21: What Wilson did not describe is how his budgets for public education have affected both our schools and local government. For three years, Wilson has decreed that there is no inflation. With actual inflation running between 2.5% and 3%, the effect after those three years has been a cut of over 8.25% in per-student spending. When Wilson became governor, California already ranked in the bottom third of the states in per-student expenditures. That situation has become worse. Only one other state has a worse class-size problem.

To compound the fiscal straitjacket he forced onto our schools, Wilson has not even been honest in providing those limited funds for education. Although the voters, Legislature and courts have all determined that funding our public schools is a state responsibility, Wilson has repeatedly funded the schools by diverting local property taxes rather than eliminating loopholes in state taxes. The result has been closed libraries and fire stations along with several counties on the edge of bankruptcy.



* I see where Brown wishes to mandate yet another emergency stopgap educational program to add to the ever-growing list of similar taxpayer boondoggles. "JobReady" proposes to teach reading and math skills to high school students in preparation for the job market. Isn't that what the schools are teaching already?

Furthermore, JobReady is on an individual "choice" basis. Does this mean that a student need not choose? And if a student's choice is negative does this mean that he/she will remain in a non-reading, non-math full-time school environment?



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