The following is an Opinion piece from Dan Walters. It was recently published in the Fresno Bee.
As Californians worry – with good reason – whether the state will ever truly recover from recession and re-emerge as a global powerhouse, they know that education is one major factor.
They also sense, as demonstrated by a recent USC/Los Angeles Times poll, that California’s school system is very troubled, plagued by financial uncertainty and poor outcomes, such as a high dropout rate and low scores on national academic tests.
Clearly, improving education is vital to California’s future, and there’s no shortage of political, civic and academic discourse about reform – especially in light of the incredibly wide economic, linguistic, cultural and ethnic range of the state’s 6 million school kids.
Should we spend more money? If so, how should the funds be apportioned?
Should we have more charter schools? Should we give parents “vouchers” to be spent at private or public schools? Should teachers face greater scrutiny?
Should we require that all students be prepared to attend college, or should we restore what used to be called “vocational education” to our high schools?
The latter issue has become one of the most contentious. (Read more.)