Sacramento, CA – Today, leaders in the education community, including teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members as well as after-school program and charter school advocates, announced their support for Governor Schwarzenegger and his vision to move California forward.
Huh? Wha? Education leaders support Governor Schwarzenegger? But CTA says we have to support the Greek, not the Austrian. How can this be? Doesn't CTA speak for all of California's teachers?
The press release quoted above goes on to state all the wonderful things the Governor has done to support education. Given the alternatives I back Schwarzenegger, but the press release sure seems to contain a lot of rose petals.
"Under Governor Schwarzenegger's leadership, California is investing in education at the highest level in our state's history," said Sandra McBrayer, United States teacher of the year*. "Over the past two and a half years, funding for education has increased by $8.1 billion – to more than $11,000 per student. The Governor has also put an historic plan before voters that will build and renovate the classrooms we need to ensure our students have safe and functional places to learn. I applaud this Governor's commitment to our students, teachers and parents."
I've not seen any figures that put California's per-pupil spending that high. In fact, we aren't even at the national average yet. I'd be pleasantly surprised if we were at $8000 per pupil. Somebody's numbers aren't kosher.
"These leaders recognize that Governor Schwarzenegger has made education and California's children a top priority," said Californians for Schwarzenegger Deputy Political and Coalitions Director Jennifer Johnson.
I've seen no evidence that education is his top priority.
"For years, vocational education was ignored in our state. This Governor has reversed the trend and made vocational education a priority in California by investing tens of millions of dollars into career technical education programs, providing funding to coordinate high school and community college programs and dedicating more than $124 million to expand nursing programs," said career technical education advocate Jim Aschwanden*.
Why haven't I heard about this before? It's not like I'm completely uninformed about what's going on in California's schools. Does the disconnect here lie with me, or with someone else?
Look, I support the governor--but not because of what he's done with education. Despite how much money we spend on education, I haven't seen it recognized as some tremendous priority for the state--not for the governor, and not for the legislature. In fact, Arnold has made some serious mistakes regarding education, including putting that idiot Alan Bersin on the State Board. From where I sit, education is not a strong plank on which the governor should base his campaign.
I admit, however, that it's nice to see people involved in education stand with the man instead of pursing their lips to kiss the butt of whomever the CTA tells them to.
P.S. I recognize three names from the list at the end of the press release. They're all good people.
Update, 10:04 am: Here's another group of people supporting Arnold.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to headline a fundraiser for gay Republicans in Hollywood next week in what would be his first appearance in front of a gay audience since he took office, according to the event's organizers.
The June 29 fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans comes as Schwarzenegger considers whether to veto a bill that would require chapters from gay history to be added to public school text books in California. The governor already has indicated he opposes the measure.
The governor's stock has been down with gay rights groups since he vetoed a gay marriage bill in September. The action won him the dubious honor of receiving this year's "pink brick" award, bestowed on the public figure who organizers of the San Francisco gay pride parade decide has most hurt the gay rights cause.
But the Log Cabin Republicans, a group for gay and lesbian GOP members that publicly parted company with President Bush after he supported a federal gay marriage ban, have stood by Schwarzenegger since they endorsed him to unseat Democrat Gray Davis during the 2003 recall.
This is foolish. The Log Cabin Republicans aren't taken seriously by Republicans because they're gay, and they're not taken seriously by gays because they're Republican. They have absolutely no influence in either group. Schwarzenegger isn't gaining anything by meeting with them, and he may well harm himself--although here in California, perhaps not as much as he would in other states. But allow me to be honest as well as blunt: the only group of people who vote Democrat more reliably than blacks are gays. Arnold may get six or seven more votes next November from doing this--he'd probably get more votes simply by shaking hands of passers-by in front of San Francisco City Hall. And let's be honest again, the only reason he attended this fundraiser was to seek votes.
Update #2, 6/22/06 2:35 pm: Here's an interesting way to look at the issue of gay rights, via Dan Weintraub, blogger-extraordinaire for the major Sacramento newspaper:
Until I read this story I hadn't realized that Schwarzenegger was the recipient of this year's "pink brick" award from the organizers of San Francisco's Gay Pride parade, given to the public figure who has most hurt the gay rights cause. If that's the case, the cause must be doing even better than I thought.
He's right. If Schwarzenegger is the worst thing to happen to gay rights, then gay rights are advancing at a rapid pace.