I'm in no position to argue whether or not California spends enough money per student on education--even though education consumes a full 50% of our state budget. And if it were my job being saved by this charity, I'd be plenty thankful. But looking from the outside, this is just unseemly. Honestly, aren't they playing on the guilt of parents here? "If you don't help these poor, helpless teachers, your child may suffer."
A free public school education is guaranteed by the state Constitution to every California child. But as districts grapple with proposed state funding cuts that could cause the layoffs of thousands of teachers and inflate class sizes, parents are being asked to dig deeper into their pocketbooks to help.
"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...
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.
One politician has a good idea, though:
David Long, California's education secretary, acknowledged the inequity (between those communities that can contribute extra to schools and those that cannot) but said money from nonprofit organizations and federal funds earmarked for poorer schools help level the playing field somewhat. However, he said the only way to fix the state's finances is for the Legislature to approve Schwarzenegger's budget stabilization act, which would put away surplus revenue during economic booms for use in leaner times.
I wish him good luck in that endeavor.