Hi. This is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and I would like to talk a little bit to you about our education reforms.
Someone once said, "Education is not the answer to the question. It is the means to the answer to all questions."
Education is one of government's most important duties because nowhere are the stakes higher. Our future depends on the quality of education we give our children today.
This year, I propose major reforms for education to develop and reward the best teachers and give our kids every chance to excel in the classroom.
Money for schools is terribly important, there's no two ways about it.
And my budget for the coming year will spend nearly $3 billion more than last year - by far the largest spending increase for any program.
But if we just spend money on the schools and say we've done our job, then we are shortchanging the kids.
We spend almost half of the state's budget on education and still many of our kids are failing or dropping out.
To support the kids and the teachers we need to do more.
So this year, I propose reforms to invest education money more wisely, restore local control and reward excellence.
The current system does not allow us to reward good teachers.
My plan will do that by linking pay to performance and student achievements.
The current system limits the number of opportunities for kids to succeed in school and in life.
My plan will change that by expanding charter schools and vocational education programs.
The current system prevents the schools from saving money so more can be spent in the classroom.
I want to change that by allowing schools to use competitive bidding for services like maintenance, transportation and food services. The schools can save $300 million and that money could go directly into the classroom.
These are big changes and the special interests are already out there trying to block true reform.
This is the battle between the children's interests and the special interests and I know which side will win. Trust me.
Please join me, and together we will stop politics-as-usual and win for California the reforms our state needs.
LB Opinions In Response
Rewarding teachers by the way students test - YIKES! Who will want to teach in a low performing school? No sane person!
Even the best teacher can't make a student learn (or test well) if that student doesn't care. And as LBReport points out...parents are the first and most important teacher a child has!
Can they be penalized if they don't get their children to bed at a decent hour, feed them breakfast, get them to school regularly, make sure they are doing the work they need to do to get the grades they need (are capable of)...?
The biggest expense in the K-12 education budget is busing. Perhaps a better (but probably the more expensive way to go) is boarding for children on the school site...Taregt it for children whose parents are less than good parents(who decides that?), children who live in areas of bad influence. What is the trade-off? Parents agree not to have any more children, if they go this route.
Performance pay is a bad idea. for the most part. The government will still have to pay bonuses for teachers to work in dangerous/subpar schools. But I do like the readers comments regarding politicians salaries based on performance!
7th through 12th grade students who are not inclined to go to college should be taught the curriculms now offered by the Devrys and Brooks and the ITT's of this world. Young adults need to have marketable skills to go to work after they get out of the K-12 system..
A very well-meaning speech. I think he has the students and teachers in his heart and really wants to do well by them. Unfortunately, some of his ideas indicate a naiveté stemming from his lack of hands-on experience in a few areas.
1. Financially rewarding teachers for their students' success a very tricky proposition. Basically, it means that your income is based on how well some else performs on a test. I cannot imagine any sane individual wanting to have his/her salary based on how someone else performs. Too many factors cannot be controlled by the person whose salary is being affected. Would the Governor and legislators like their salaries based on how well the state fares economically?
As an example in education, parents, more often than not, are the ones who "limit the number of opportunities for kids to succeed in school and in life." Bad parenting is rampant among the poor student performers and dropouts - a situation that is almost impossible to counter, particularly when a single teacher has 180-plus students each day. Why should a teacher's salary be made smaller because parents are not doing their job?
It also encourages even more teaching to the test - a disaster for the students, but a currently widespread practice by teachers who are terrified of being singled out as incompetent.
2. "Competitive bidding" is a good idea only if the selection of the winning bid is being made by the person who will be directly affected, such as a homeowner looking for a contractor to build a pool. Years of living in shabbily constructed military housing -- all built by the lowest bidder in competitive bidding -- has taught me that.
I would rather have a root canal than have to listen to Governor Schwarzenegger share his myopic views with me!
I agree with the Governor
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