Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Governor Promises to Protect Education

The brightest spot in the governor’s State of the State speech today was his promise not to cut education: both K-12 and higher education. I applaud the governor for prioritizing education because it is the single greatest service the state provides to enable our people to achieve the California and American dreams.

The governor said:
“…I am drawing this line. Because our future economic well-being is so dependant upon education, I will protect education funding in this budget. And, we can no longer afford to cut higher education either.” (My emphasis.)

Education funding has been decimated in recent years. Education has been cut by over $17 billion and the US/CSU systems by $550 million. Enough is enough!

What have these cuts meant to our schools and our children? Check out the Education Coalition’s report “Chronicling the Cuts” here.

While it is easy for the Governor to make this promise because K-12 education is already protected by Proposition 98, I for one, want to take the Governor at his word. No more cuts to K-12, community colleges, UC/CSU and CalGrants.

Meeting this goal remains challenging. California faces a $6.6 billion deficit in the remainder of the current budget year and a $13.3 billion deficit in 2010-2011. At $35 billion, K-12 is the largest portion of our budget. And, at $10.5 billion, higher education is the third largest portion of our budget. And we cannot protect education at the cost of all the other necessary services the state provides.

On Friday the governor releases his specific budget proposals. I look forward to seeing how the governor’s proposed budget will honor his admirable promise to protect education.