I'm not a big fan of increased spending on education, and I opposed California's recent Prop 55 which floated a huge bond for "necessary education facilities to relieve overcrowding and to repair older schools". We wouldn't need bond money to pay for these things if we didn't waste huge amounts of regularly-budgeted money.

Here's the story of what's being cut in one small school district for lack of funding. Note: most of these cuts don't bother me one iota.

The West Contra Costa school district Monday night voted to eliminate high school athletics, close all its libraries and lay off 10 percent of its employees as part of $16.5 million in budget cuts. ...

On the chopping block are 407 positions, or roughly 10 percent of the district's employees, including psychologists, speech therapists, teachers, principals, counselors and custodians.

Of all that, what I'd least like to see cut are the libraries... but let's be serious. Are school libraries really important in this day and age? Even ten years ago when I was in high school we never used the library, and these days I bet 99% of students go to the internet for research long before they hit the school library. I don't know if this school district has computer labs, but I bet they do. If not, they should definitely cut the libraries and librarians and replace the 50-year-old books (that have never been checked out) with $500 desktops.

The single most effective step that could be taken to improve our public schools would be to eliminate the tenure system that pointlessly protects mediocre teachers. Teachers unions fight like crazy against any attempt to evaluate teachers based on merit and achievement, so we shouldn't be surprised that our kids aren't learning. How well would you do your work if you knew you would never be evaluated and could never be fired for doing a poor job?



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