California is facing budget cuts. The situation is so bleak that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is wanting to slash five days of school.
According to the figures slashing those five school days would save $1.1 billion. As it stands now kids in California go to school 180 days a year. That is lower than most other countries. In Korea children attend 225 days, Japan 223, China 221, Australia 196, Russia 195, The Netherlands 191, England 190 and Canada, the closest to the U.S. is at 188.
When it comes to actual class time Chinese students spend 1,374 hours in a school setting compared to 1,061 hours for a student in the United States. The United States student though tends to be in class longer than most other students around the world.
Instructors are angry at this turn of events in California saying that the five day cut will further the achievement gap of at risk students. Already Kentucky and North Dakota have shortened their school years.
As the standards of education increase the dollars going into the school system is decreasing. Children are the ones that are paying the cost.
Other choices to amend the educational budget proposed included closing schools, laying off more teachers and doing away with sports and arts programs.
The LA Times reports:
“We put this forward knowing we were heading into what is clearly the most challenging fiscal environment California has ever faced,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Schwarzenegger’s finance department.
“When you have to put forward a budget that closes a gap of more than $41 billion, criticism is going to be implicit in any proposal, whether in the education area or in health and human services or on the revenue side.
“That’s why, before we came out with this proposal, we wanted to engage the education community at the front end of the process to get their views on how we can try to . . . do the least amount of damage possible,” he said.
Educators are rightly saying that this would be a huge step backward for the students in California. During the 2006-2007 school year California ranked a dismal 47 in a smartest state award. Taking away even more of their children’s time in school is not going to help raise that level.
Schwarzenegger does have problems with the budget. There is a projected $41.6-billion budget problem. There’s already take of a sales tax increase. The cuts will hit not only education but also health care for the poor. Another key cut in the budget is in the favor of the criminals. Parole will be eliminated for all nonserious, nonviolent and non-sex offenders. More good-time credits will be given to convicts to help reduce the prison population.
So the basics of the new proposed budget is if you’re already poor you’re not going to get any help. Those who have money will make sure their kids are in schools that have the funds in place to educate. If you’re poor you have another week of trying to scrap up daycare money because the streets are about to get crowded with people that would still be in jail or being watched over by the system. And don’t bother getting sick. There isn’t any money for that.
Happy New Year California.