Education is the most important building block for a strong society and for personal success. Proposition 30 on this November’s election ballot strengthens education in California, and balances the state’s budget responsibly.
The founders and leaders of California knew the value of education and built a college and university system that educates more students than any other state in America. The University of California system is recognized as one of the top public universities in the world. The California State University system is the largest of its kind, and California’s Community Colleges are the largest system of higher education in the world. More than 3 million students are enrolled in California’s public institutions of higher education.
But in recent years, opportunistic politicians have shamelessly cut resources to our schools, with $20 billion in funding cuts and over 30,000 fewer teachers. Still ranked tops in total number of students, California has fallen far behind and is near the bottom when considering teaching staff expenditure per pupil. And California’s classroom sizes are among the most crowded in the U.S.
For Asian Americans, California’s decline in education is particularly alarming. Seventy percent of Asian/Pacific Islander high school graduates enroll in California’s public colleges and universities according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission. This education is the key ingredient in building a skilled workforce. In a 2004 study, the Public Policy Institute of California found that 55% of California Asian women born in the United States have at least a bachelor’s degree and with those degrees, a whopping 84% of these Asian American females either have jobs or are looking for them.
Shockingly, Sacramento politicians are poised to make another $6 billion in cuts to California education. This foreshadows more education losses, and double-digit tuition increases at the University of California.
Fortunately, Governor Jerry Brown is pushing Proposition 30 to offer an alternative to these disastrous cuts. Gov. Brown is taking a balanced approach of finding cost savings coupled with a temporary increase in taxes on the state’s highest wage earners to bring stability to California’s education system and bring fiscal responsibility to the state’s budget.
Prop. 30 takes these new temporary revenues and puts them in a dedicated account to be used only for public schools with an independent audit every year that is shared publicly to ensure that all funds are spent properly.
For a better educational system, for the future of our Asian American families and for the prosperity of California, AsianWeek urges a YES vote on PROP. 30.