Experts Expound

Experts Expound

How important is education as a political issue? Political pros say it polls at the top of voters’ concerns, but the governor’s office recently released a major, long-awaited study on education and it fell into a cone of silence. What’s going on?

Voters and politicians want easy answers, hoping more money or more testing will lead to a state full of MIT-ready high school graduates. It doesn’t work that way. As a political issue, it’s only important when a politician refuses to support the easy “solution” that has no chance of actually succeeding.

It costs money. We have none. The stuff that doesn’t cost will be on the guv’s and superintendent’s agenda. The rest will wait. It is still at the top of the public’s interest. The education coalition’s rallies are drawing huge crowds all over the state.

The education issue has been drowned out by the budget situation and the shaky economy.

Studies are confusing and boring, while issues and gripes are easy and cheap. That’s why pandering, like a good cliche, will always be more popular than real solutions.

To people of rational conscience, public education has to be at or near the top of the list. An uneducated electorate votes union. Put those two thoughts together and solve the problem.

Everyone supports education, and it may top the polls. But the fact is that serious voters know that the CTA will never allow the vast reforms that our system demands, so yet another report that calls for reform elicits a resigned shrug.

Education is always an issue in every campaign, but remember, only a little more than one-fourth of all Californians have kids in school. So while there is usually general concern about the state of our schools, the challenge is getting the other three-quarters of Californians to agree on what to do about it — and how to pay for it.

Education is important, but only when voters have the luxury of thinking about it. Which means that in a recession, it falls right off the edge.

Californians worry about their schools, but nobody’s accountable. In this state, jurisdiction over education is more tangled than an Arkansas family tree.

Education is an important issue when times are relatively good. But now with the filthy rich getting filthier and richer and working  people getting royally shafted, worrying about education as an issue seems like a luxury.

Education is important … but the Democrats are making a mistake putting all their eggs in one basket. By the way, what do Democrats consider “fully funded” anyway? How much is enough?

 Education matters a lot … when the economy isn’t in a full blown free-fall.

The people from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Mark Bogetich, Barry Brokaw, Morgan Crinklaw, J. Dale Debber, Peter DeMarco, Jim Evans, Kathy Fairbanks, Jeff Fuller, Rex Frazier, Ken Gibson, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Sandy Harrison, Bob Hertzberg, Jason Kinney, Mike Madrid, Nicole Mahrt, Steve Maviglio, Adam Mendelsohn, Barbara O’Connor, Bill Packer, Kassy Perry, Jack Pitney, Adam Probolsky, Tony Quinn, Matt Rexroad, Matt Ross, Roger Salazar, Dan Schnur, Will Shuck, Ralph Simoni, Sam Sorich, Ray Sotero, Gary South, Kevin Spillane, Rich Zeiger.

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

 

Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: