Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner wrote an excellent piece on the lessons of government-run education in California. In 1975, when Gov. Brown was first governor, he pushed the Rodda Act that allowed government worker unions to directly withhold union dues from organized worker paychecks. The California Teachers Association used the massive sums collected to mount political campaigns to get more money for the government-run schools and for teacher pay and benefits. In 1988, they helped pass Proposition 98 that required the state to spend at least 39% of the state budget on K-12 education. The results:
- An average teacher salary of $69,434 a year. This is third highest in the nation.
- A doubling of unionized teachers.
- Union contracts requiring teacher pay be based on longevity, not teaching quality.
- In 1992, California ranked next to last in reading proficiency for fourth-graders.
- In 2011, California 8th graders were 48th in reading and 48th in math. They did outperform Mississippi in both!
- California has one of the highest student to teacher ratios in the nation, despite the huge spending. The national average ratio is 15.5 and California is 20.9.
- California once had among the highest percentages of college-educated people and still is #6 in college degrees for those over 65 years old! But, its 25 - 34 age group is 1% below the 31.5% national average in college degrees. It is sinking fast.
- The exodus of companies out of California will have to continue not just due to high taxes and over-regulation, but because they will not be able to find enough college graduates to hire. There is a projected shortfall of 1 million jobs requiring a college education by 2025. [College feedstock from the 48th worst elementary schools in the nation must almost certainly lead to a particularly dire grade inflation in college, making many college degrees from California colleges quite bogus. This is not to mention that high school graduates who cannot read and do simple math proficiently are not suitable for many jobs one might think a high school graduate could handle.]
Over and over, I have made the point that quality education, for many reasons, must be private education, not government-run education. California is a great object lesson in the failure of government-managed education. One of the reasons it cannot fix itself is because its government-run schools are excellent at one thing -- indoctrinating the young with a belief in big government and a fear of the private sector.