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Fixing California – Part Eight, Restoring Quality Education

Pragmatism. Abundance. Optimism. If these are the principles that should guide public policy in California—and they are—what the public schools offer is the exact opposite.

Instead of pragmatism, they offer partisan ideology.

Instead of emphasizing the ability, indeed, the obligation, for a modern and prosperous society to deliver abundance, the message is that we must ration everything we use, and treat employment as a zero-sum game, where jobs and opportunities are allocated by race and gender instead of in recognition of merit and passion.

And instead of an optimistic view of the future, the mandated curricula are steeped in pessimism: the climate emergency, the crisis of systemic racism, the catastrophe of capitalist enslavement, a sordid national history., and an oppressive, exploitative society.

It isn’t necessary to engage in yet another in-depth recitation of how California’s public schools have devolved into indoctrination chambers, failing low-income students most in need of a decent education. Rebellion is in the air.

Suffice to say, classroom discipline is replaced with “restorative justice.” Teacher accountability, now more than ever, gives way to “tenure” and a job for life. Measuring academic achievement with standardized tests has become racist, and as redress, the University of California will no longer consider applicants’ SAT scores. Learning multiplication tables and other practical quantitative skills gave way to “Common Core.” Timeless classics may alienate or even threaten young readers, so reading material is selected based on the race and gender of the authors. Lessons in basic concepts of […] Read More

Fighting, and Winning, School Choice in California

There is going to be a school choice initiative on the state ballot in November 2022.

While this is not an absolute certainty, the grassroots support for school choice is strong, and the infrastructure necessary to nurture a grassroots effort is now in place. The RecallGavin2020 campaign has proven the model, and fed up parents from Chula Vista to Crescent City are ready to strike.

What is far from certain however is the form a school choice measure will take, or the consequences of having it on the ballot. Evaluating these consequences in advance should guide school choice advocates as they consider what sort of product to hand over to the troops for signature gathering.

Broadly speaking, there are two avenues that a school choice initiative can take. Empowering charter schools, or creating education savings accounts, or ESAs. The California School Choice Foundation is already actively researching an ESA ballot initiative. These two options might be loosely summarized as follows:

SCHOOL CHOICE IN CALIFORNIA – EMPOWER CHARTER SCHOOLS

1 – Charter schools can be approved by the following entities: The state board of education, any county board of education, any school district school board, any mayor, and any public or private accredited university.

2 – There will be no cap established by the state or any public agency on the number of charter schools, or the number of charter school students.

3 – Renewal applications for charter schools that are denied by school districts shall have the right […] Read More

School Choice Initiative Quietly Gathers Support

In the November 2020 election, California’s powerful teachers’ unions spent over $20 million promoting Prop. 15, which would have increased taxes on commercial properties. Other unions, mostly in the public sector, spent another $17 million to promote Prop. 15. But voters weren’t buying it. Prop. 15 failed.

Overall, in November 2020, California’s government unions spent nearly $70 million to promote or oppose state ballot initiatives, and almost all of that spending was unsuccessful. While a couple of union supported ballot propositions were approved by voters, they weren’t high priorities, attracting only around $200,000 in union spending.

This result presents a paradox. Why is it that public sector unions, which collect and spend nearly $1.0 billion per year in revenue, mostly from dues, and use that money to make or break the political campaigns of nearly every member of the California State Legislature, and which in similar manner control nearly every city council, county board of supervisors, school board, and governing board of transit districts and fire districts and transportation districts – you get the picture – why couldn’t they impose their will on California’s electorate when it came to ballot propositions in 2020?

Consider these results on key initiatives, all contrary to the will of California’s government unions: 52 percent of voters rejected increasing property taxes, 56 percent rejected “no bail” laws, 57 percent rejected the reinstatement of racial preferences, 58 percent supported the rights of independent contractors, and 60 percent rejected Read More

Saving California Will Save America

As proven by the torrent of executive orders issued by King Newsom during this COVID-19 pandemic, during a public emergency, constitutional rights and due process go out the window. In the coming years, with California’s one-party state leading the way, expect climate emergencies, systemic racism emergencies, and new health related emergencies to shred what is left of democracy in America.

hese “emergencies” are enabling the onset of political tyranny in California, with Governor Gavin Newsom as the figurehead. His most significant overseers are the teachers’ unions and Big Tech billionaires. These two blocs spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on political campaigns and lobbyists, along with funding powerful nonprofit groups that agitate for politically useful agendas with respect to the environment, homelessness, social justice, and race and gender equity.

All this well-funded advocacy is framed as “for the people” and “for the planet,” but in reality, everything Newsom, his predecessors, and his puppeteers have done has failed ordinary Californians, while delivering more power and more profits to California’s ruling elite.

Instead of rounding up the homeless, sorting them according to their various problems or pathologies, and putting them in supervised tent encampments in low cost areas in the state, California’s homeless advocates and profiteering “nonprofit” developers build taxpayer funded “supportive housing” palaces that cost over a half-million per unit in the middle of expensive residential neighborhoods, solving nothing. Meanwhile, cities descend into filth and anarchy.

Instead of implementing school choice, the teachers union demands more funding for failed […] Read More

How to Realign California Politics

The working class, which still constitutes a supermajority of California’s voters, is being destroyed by the policies enacted by the Democratic party. This is why political realignment in California can happen fast.

In three fundamental areas, public education, land use, and energy infrastructure, California’s current policies are destroying lives, livelihoods, and land. And in all three of these areas, the solutions that will work challenge core premises that California’s Democrats have relied on to claim the moral high ground. But these premises must be defied, because Democrats do not hold the moral high ground. They are ruining everything, from our cities to our forests. How can that be moral?

Dismantling the Public School Monopoly

The obvious example, where a realignment tipping point has already almost been reached, is the moral imperative to nurture the next generation. Everyone agrees: Teach the children well, that they might all have a chance at a bright future. But California’s public schools are failing their students, and the problem is the worst in low income neighborhoods where the importance of a good public education is the greatest.

The solution is equally obvious: Public schools need to experience competition. Parents need to be able to choose from an assortment of accredited K-12 schools; public, public charter, virtual, parochial, private, homeschool, and micro-schools.

To implement school choice, education advocates need to stop trying to push whatever baby step their consultants and donors claim is politically possible, and do what is right. […] Read More