Return to No. 1

Our greatest responsibility as human beings is to ensure that all of our children are well prepared for the future. We cannot do this without skilled, well-paid teachers, well-equipped up-to-date safe schools and all the so-called extras like music and sports.

Most of us are willing to pay the taxes we used to pay to support great schools and healthy families. Let's get our schools off the "worst" state list and return to No. 1. The future of all of us depends on our children.

The Rev. Susan Meeter

Richmond

Remove unions

Out best-educated children are home schooled. Why? They are taught by their parents, who really care and are not burdened by stupid regulations and rules.

Local education without unions is our only solution to affordable education. Local taxpayers now have no vote with collective bargaining on union contracts.

Parents, teachers, students and businesses must be involved in local school budget and administration. Private schools are on their own.

Almost all teachers are well-educated, capable, good people. Teachers should be well-paid, but it is not their job to fight and make demands.

Unions and federal and state administrators must be eliminated.


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Teachers provide a service, and out community taxpayers and parents pay for their service.

Each child must receive a $4,000 voucher funded by our property tax. Parents will decide where their child will attend school.

Each school must have at least 25 students and no vouchers for home schooled children.

Mike Vukelich

El Sobrante

Inadequate funds

California is not adequately funding our schools. Our children need a well-rounded education that includes arts and sports as well as basic quality education.

Without the ability for critical thinking, team playing and abilities to express themselves through music or other arts, we're unleashing future problems of obesity, gang and other acting-out behaviors.

For all of that, we need well-paid, creative and committed teachers. Arts and sports help pull the parents in to help with rounding out a quality education for our children.

Patsy Stubbs

Richmond

Funds misspent

The question is rhetorical because education funds are routinely perverted by the California Legislature.

Funds are systematically misappropriated from direct pupil study investment to teacher union dues/pensions and bloated administrative salaries/raises and squandered on nonacademic agendas of environmentalists, socialists, gays and illegal aliens (Dream Act), etc.

There are few educational dollars left for the serious education of the children of taxpaying legal residents, in our state, once an education leader.

Why folks are not outraged that their children are being shortchanged is astounding. Higher and higher taxes are collected on our income, our property, our purchases (sales), gasoline, our estates (inheritance). The list goes on and on. Where's the outrage?

Instead of asking readers this question, the Times should use unbiased, investigative journalism to root out and expose all abuses of education funding in this state.

Shine light on the absurdities of California legislators' educational agenda. By doing so, the Times may return to the time-honored role of watchdog of/for the people, and earn back its relevancy in the new media world.

Ron Fedore

Dublin

Below average

The educational defunding trend in California is worsening. In 2008 California ranked 23rd in an unadjusted-for-average-labor-costs ranking which fell to 28th when the amount was adjusted.

Now, in 2011, California has fallen to 43rd with per-pupil spending when adjusted just for regional variation in labor costs.

California is also far above national averages for English-as-a-second-language pupils, costs of living, and travel and property expenses.

The educational effect of this inadequate funding is actually worse than the rankings would indicate when these factors are properly accounted for.

California has been below average in per student spending since the passage of Proposition 13. It is no wonder then that our children aren't excelling. Our children deserve better.

Ed Chainey

Richmond

Failing students

No, I don't think California is adequately funding education. Access to a good education should be more than a privilege, it should be the "right" of every Californian.

At present, we underfund schools and underpay our teachers at every level. Many of our students fail to get the basic tools in language, math, science and the arts that they need or they drop out completely.

If we want California to return to it's previous levels of opportunity for individuals and high levels of employment we must ensure that a quality education is available to each one of us.

Robert Sholtz

El Cerrito

Invest in future

California is not adequately funding education. Education is the engine of innovation, opportunity, and raising the tide for all boats. Growing the economy, maintaining public health, reducing crime, and pursuing the American dream all require increased investment in public education.

The motto of the University of California is: "Let there be light." I was fortunate to be a UC undergraduate at a time when I and everyone I knew there believed that it represented the pursuit of excellence.

I also believe that it is in the interest of all of us for the best and the brightest to go into teaching. No aspiration is worthier than excellence in education, and no segment of society is more important than educators. So educators should be among the most highly paid.

The University of California was a major factor in making California one of the biggest economies in the world. Investing much more in all levels of education in California is the best way to grow our way out of our current economic doldrums. Let's do it!

Diddo Clark

Lafayette

Cutbacks hurt

Having spent nine years in California's public school system and now attending a private high school, I can see the difference that lack of funding creates.

Nine years ago, before California was in a debt crisis and when I was in kindergarten, the public schools in California (specifically my hometown, Brentwood) were absolutely outstanding.

I was able to take advantage of art, music, and computer programs, which were available at my elementary school on a weekly basis and were each taught by a different instructor for all six years that I attended.

Now there is no art or computer teacher and these programs are in the hands of the classroom teacher. While the music program remains intact, it is available only to fourth and fifth graders.

Evidently, there is a substantial difference between public elementary schools now compared to when I was an elementary school student.

Still with these cutbacks, I have had the privilege of being taught by many wonderful people in the past nine years. Though teachers have been subjected to many pay cuts, they have provided quality education to California's students.

Adriana Ghiozzi

Brentwood

Fully fund

No. We have less per pupil spending then the majority of states. Public education is not a form of welfare, as some think.

Privatization is not the answer. Fully funded and supported public institutions create a sense of common purpose and hope for all economic brackets.

Tax rates should be returned to previous levels to pay for social stability. We should live up to our Christian nation hype and be our "brothers' keeper."

Wendy Brubaker

Richmond

Underfunded

When I went into teaching as a second career, I knew what the real work hours were; my ex-wife was a teacher during the 14 years we were married.

Between 2005 and today, my average class size has increased over 45 percent. While my paid work hours and salary have not changed much, my unpaid hours have dramatically increased. All of this is due to the underfunding of education.

This is not an increase in efficiency, but rather a large decrease in actual education. With larger class sizes, I have less time to individually help students who need it. Classroom management time has increased, and education time has decreased in each period.

Some students might not act up with 27 students in the class but will with 40. We need to reduce class sizes with more teachers.

We, as a society, cannot afford to not spend more on students. Employment in California is dependent on an adequately educated workforce.

Outside of districts such as San Ramon and Acalanes, which can get more funding from parents, public education is generally not creating the next generation workforce. This will cost all of us in the future far more than any tax increase.

Arthur Pruyn

Pittsburg

Money no answer

California spends about $10,000 per pupil a year on education. Germany and the U.K. spend half as much with better education results. If they can do it, why can't we?

Money is not the answer, especially not when the bulk of it doesn't find its way into the classroom.

Erich Kellner

Walnut Creek

Wasted money

President Jimmy Carter did not mince his words in 1980 by asking Americans to live with their means and lost the election to Ronald Reagan.

Reagan went on a massive military spending spree, and we have not recovered from that mindset 30 years later.

Why, when the entire nation is suffering from cutbacks in services and education, are we still spending such enormous treasures on defense and senseless wars?

Our country is bleeding from the wounds of war and military spending — $7 trillion in the last 10 years alone! We can't afford this anymore.

The Joint Strike Fighter is an example of military spending gone wild. Each plane costs $144 million (maintenance aside) and we're planning to acquire 2,500 of these.

I say reduce the number of these preposterously expensive war machines by half and fund colleges in the U.S. to the tune of $170 billion over the next 10 years. Now that would be money well spent.

Ismail Mahomed

San Ramon

Get rid of babble

California's funding of education would probably be adequate if we could rid the system of sociological psychobabble indoctrination.

Public education should be based on an objective curriculum using teachers who do not use their position of power as a conduit for their social; agendas.

The nonacademic values that should be taught are responsibility, accountability, patriotism, self-reliance and honest economics, not the crony capitalism that politicians love.

Edward Zawatson

Concord