The good news today is that Congress (or more accurately the Democrats in Congress) passed the $26 billion jobs bill for states, saving 300,000 jobs for government workers, including teachers. In California, that will cover approximately 16,500 teachers who won’t lose their jobs now.
This will surely help make up the tremendous shortfall in California, especially after the teacher fund referendum on the 2010 primary ballot here failed to pass. But this begs the larger question of, apart from recent economic hard times, how did California’s public school system go from being considered the country’s best to one of America’s worst. What’s sad is that this has been an ongoing issue that is not getting better. Below is a report made in 2003 by journalist John Merrow, which uses the example of the Santa Monica/Malibu public school system. The more things change the more they stay the same on steroids. Watch the report and then read the next post on how this same school system deals with the same fight this week in an amazing race to raise the funds and keep teachers on the payroll. You can watch more of this report on the YouTube page.