My wife has been working as a substitute schoolteacher in Redlands for the past few weeks. I mentioned here the impact California's repeated budget-slashing has had on her job hunt. I'd like to tell you now about what she's seen in just a few days working in our rapidly collapsing public education system. This is Victoria Elementary School in San Bernardino, just over the Redlands city line. Their mascot is the tiger. The school celebrated its 60th year in operation last year. It serves an older, working-class neighbourhood with a couple of new subdivisions, north of I-10 between Tippecanoe and Alabama. It is a Title I school, meaning that at least 40% of the students it serves are from low-income families. On the campus is both a library and a nurse's office, which you would expect to find in any elementary school.
However, there is no librarian, nor is there a nurse.
One of the students in my wife's classroom was feeling ill, and she was informed that she must keep the student there until he decided he was so ill he needed to go home, at which point his parents would be notified.
This is what is happening to our public services in California. Our buses are being cut, our roads are falling into disrepair, our colleges are hiking fees as quickly as they can (fees at UCR for resident undergraduates increased by over $3,000 a year during my bachelor's degree alone), and our schoolchildren are stuck in crowded, crumbling classrooms with inadequate services and valiant, but overworked teachers. Over the past 20 years, corporations and the wealthy have systematically removed the tax base on which our entire government (and consequently, our state's prosperity) sits, and it is now falling down. And in the midst of our crisis, our joke of an Assemblyman is putting crap like this on his web site.
We need to rise up against the corporations and super-rich individuals (like, say, Meg Whitman) who have kicked our government out from under us. We need to realize that the taxes that we do pay (sales tax, gas tax, income tax) have been raised to compensate for what the wealth don't pay- property and corporate taxes- and we need to look north for a solution. Please, California, stop letting the conservatives frame the debate. Realize that effective governance is the solution, and stand up for it.