Staff Editorial: Arnold and his camp continue to cause damage
"I share Gov. Schwarzenegger's commitment to turn around California's failing schools and provide the tools and resources necessary to deliver the best possible education to every California child and the best training to every California teacher."
These are the words of our new Secretary of Education Alan Bersin. The governor wants Californians to now sit back and take comfort, only some of them aren't just sitting back.
Why haven't the students and teachers stopped protesting? Why aren't they taking this sitting down?
On one hand we have a new secretary of education praising Schwarzenegger and wanting to move forward, and on the other hand, we have 300 students and faculty members protesting budget cuts in front of Schwarzenegger's restaurant in Santa Monica.
There seems to be miscommunication between Bersin and the teachers.
Today, we have received reductions in our Cal Grants that enable students to receive that "best possible education" Bersin was talking about.
Now we're facing fee hikes.
Cal State students of all campuses are facing another fee hike.
Some students who still attend SMC can recall when it only cost $17 a unit to attend classes.
Many students who no longer attend SMC do not because the fees are no longer so low.
In our parents' day, attending community college was practically free. Back then taxpayers were willing to subsidize education.
Today, even students here at Santa Monica College have felt the pinch of the rising budget cuts.
We are making up the education deficit out of pocket while the property owners get rich without having to pay for the academic infrastructure our schools need.
It would probably be more money-wise for the government to bulldoze all of the schools in Santa Monica, SMC included, and sell the property to developers - we could put the community college budget in the black for the next 10 years even though there won't be any real community colleges to attend.
Gov. Schwarzenegger praised Bersin as a reformer for our education system, but when he complains about "special interests" he should not forget that it is the teachers of California who will need to implement any reforms Bersin proposes.
They will need to collaborate together to achieve a better education for all of California's students - not just K through 12, and not just the four-year institutions for which California is justly famous.
The community colleges must not be forgotten!
Education at all levels needs to be our Governor's top priority. Even though the Governor has already committed $110 million to equalize funding disparities between districts, it's not enough.
Classes are being cut, teachers are being fired and students are receiving an education that has California almost at the bottom of the national list of education funding. That's why they march.
Students of Santa Monica College, let your voices be heard! Write to Bersin and Schwarzenegger today!