When Public Education Is No Longer Free
Public education, which is a free service guaranteed by the California Constitution, is no longer free. According to the Los Angeles Times, various school districts are asking parents to fork over cash in an effort to hold onto teachers after proposed budget cuts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"South Orange County families are being urged to donate $400 per student to save the jobs of 266 teachers in the Capistrano Unified School District.
Parents at Long Beach's Longfellow Elementary are among countless statewide who are launching fundraising foundations.
Bay Area parents launched a campaign featuring children standing in trash cans; the theme is 'Public Education Is Too Valuable to Waste...'
'Public education is free, but an excellent public education is not free at this point,' said Janet Berry, president of the Davis Schools Foundation, which recently launched the Dollar-a-Day campaign, urging citizens of the city near Sacramento to donate $365 per child, grandchild or student acquaintance."
Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting about $4.8 billion in education this year and next. In the meantime, about 20,000 teachers, librarians, nurses and other school positions have been alerted that they will be fired.
In an effort to save money, school districts are looking at increasing class sizes, closing down some schools and eliminating programs such as International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement. Don't worry, sports will also be eliminated so this budget crisis affects everyone. Everyone except those who live in wealthy school districts and can raise the funds to keep their programs. More from the Los Angeles Times:
"In the Anaheim City School District, four of every five students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, a poverty indicator. A district volunteer-led foundation raises about $50,000 annually through employee contributions and fundraisers to send all sixth-graders to overnight science camp in the San Bernardino Mountains.
The Anaheim parents are never asked to do more than volunteer for small fundraisers, such as bake sales or selling gift wrap or entertainment books.
'It's not even a consideration to be able to ask them for money,' said district spokeswoman Suzi Brown. "When we look at what other districts are doing, they've got foundations that have paid staff. We don't compete with that at all. We are in a completely different league.'"
Once again we are short-changing our children to make up for budget shortfalls. How are your school districts dealing with this crisis?