BALLOT BOXING: PROP 30 A SMART RESTART FOR GOLDEN STATEBy Greater Long Beach
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Many crucial battles for the future of California will be determined on Nov. 6 by the ballots that voters put in the boxes at their local polling place. Every point of view on every issue, candidate, political party, philosophy ... whatever ... is important, and if you would like to share yours---and can express it both passionately and rationally--GreaterLongBeach.com would like to publish it. Send your essay---no longer than 1,000 words---to BallotBoxing@GreaterLongBeach.com. In this first installment, Uduak Ntuk explains his support for Proposition 30.]
By UDUAK NTUK / Long Beach / Parent
In 1969, California was one of the nation’s leaders in public education. We ranked among the top 10 states in per-pupil spending, and our students ranked in the top five among the states in achievement. Today California sits near the bottom in all these important measures. We are 46th in per-pupil spending and we are dead last in the ratio of teachers to students. This didn’t happen overnight. We’ve endured decades of budget gimmicks and bad decisions that have made our financial situation so dire that when the national recession hit, we found ourselves facing an immediate budget deficit of over $26 billion dollars. And now we find ourselves facing even deeper cuts in public education funding.
California is the seventh-largest economy in the world. It has thrived because the minds of brilliant thinkers like Steve Jobs and the Packard Brothers took root here. These innovators saw the golden future our state promised. No great economy can continue to thrive without an educated and motivated work force. Long Beach Unified School District teachers work hard every day to balance their immediate duties to our students, but for California’s future to remain bright we must hold the line on cuts to education funding.
Proposition 30 does just that!
Educators up and down the state support Prop 30. It will temporarily raise the income tax on the highest earners, asking the wealthiest and most privileged Californians to pay their fair share. The plan establishes sales tax at a level still lower than it was just a year ago. The billions of dollars in new revenue from these measures will go directly toward education and public safety. And the initiative is subject to an independent audit every year to ensure the funds are spent exactly as they are supposed to be.
I applaud Governor Brown’s willingness to tackle the deficit head-on with an eye toward protecting the best engine for future economic growth—our schools. Since taking office, Governor Brown has made the tough but necessary choices to turn California around. State spending is now at its lowest level in decades because of the across-the-board cuts he worked with the Legislature to enact. However, the Governor realizes we can’t get out of this hole with cuts alone, and we certainly can’t afford to keep cutting funding to our public schools and higher education.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote that he believed public education was one of the cornerstones of a democracy: “Preach … a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
The need for public education is just as important today as it was in 1786. That’s why I’m urging voters to stand up and protect the schools that are so critical to our State’s future.
Let’s stand together in support of Prop 30!
Long Beach Parent