Archived: A Holiday Gift for the Children of California


While most Californians may be busy preparing for the holiday season, a debate is raging in Sacramento that will impact the quality of our state for years to come.

The debate is about public education reform and the outcome will impact the earning capacity of our young people and the ability of California business to compete in the global economy for generations.

At stake is California’s share of $4.35 billion in Race to the Top funding from the Obama administration. The money is an incentive to states and local school districts to dramatically reform and improve public education in America.

So what is happening in Sacramento? On Nov. 3, the Senate passed a Race to the Top bill that would qualify California schools for funding and was hailed by reformers as a major step toward improving student achievement. But last week, the Assembly Education Committee failed to support the Senate bill on a vote of 6-5 with six abstentions. Instead it passed its own version, which has some positive elements, but overall is too watered down and meant to appease the unions for teachers and administrators.

Disagreements and delays are commonplace in every governmental body, but this debate has a deadline for action: applications for Race to the Top funds are due by Jan. 19.

What should happen this week in Sacramento? The Senate should renew its commitment to real reform by substantially amending the Assembly bill or working with Assembly leaders to craft a new joint bill that includes the best of both efforts. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will not be fooled by legislation that does not provide the clear prospect of real reform.

The children of California and their families deserve better schools and a higher quality of education. This holiday season, join us in telling the members of the Legislature that this present to the children of California is long overdue. Take action today.

And that’s The Business Perspective.

Gary Toebben is president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Business Chamber of Commerce.

Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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