Sep 28, 2009
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are pressuring the state legislation to pass a virtual wish list of “education reform,” including the introduction of merit pay for teachers, that is, tying teacher pay to student test scores, and lowering standards for teachers. The Obama administration, in strong support of Schwarzenneger, is even threatening not to allow the state of California to apply for its share of the 4.35 billion dollar federal “Race to the Top” education fund, unless the legislature goes along with this supposed “reform.”
These same politicians, who pretend to be so concerned about improving the public schools, are literally starving the entire system of money and resources. In one year, politicians cut California education spending by 8.6 billion dollars, or 17%. That amounts to a cut of $1,500 less spent on each student’s education. School boards across the state laid off 18,000 teachers. They cut several days from the academic year. They cancelled summer school. And the state government announced that it will not budget any state money to buy new text books until ... 2015!
When the schools began the new school year this fall, they were literally jammed to the rafters. An article in the Los Angeles Times described the situation: “Some L.A. Unified class rooms are crammed with over 50 students, leaving pupils to sit on desks or the floor and their teachers to grade hundreds of papers ....”
One Los Angeles sophomore described some of the problems. “It’s more difficult to focus on the work. The teachers – you can’t hear them clearly. If you need help, the teacher can’t help you as well because they have so many students.”
In the midst of this criminal destruction of the schools, Schwarzenegger, Duncan and Obama propose to cut teachers’ salaries! That’s what so-called “merit-pay” is all about: cutting the pay of most teachers while raising the pay of a very few. And that’s what lowered standards means – lower salaries.
Of course, because – as already shown – they want to spend as little money as possible educating children of the working class.