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Education is our national defense

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POSTED December 23, 2008 12:56 a.m.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
As a classroom teacher for twenty-five years, I am concerned by the ineffectiveness of our elected officials. The choices being forced upon us by the politicians in Sacramento are to accept a current state deficit of $14 billion. Schools across the state would be forced to make cuts of $8 billion.
That would be like closing every public school in California for 25 days.
That would be like laying off 160,000 classroom teachers statewide. That would be like increasing class sizes statewide by 50%. That would force Manteca Unified to cut $26 million from next year’s budget. California ranks 46th out of the 50 states in per-pupil spending. California spends 5 times as much on prisoners as we do on our students. On average, other states spend $1900 more on students than California does. We need stable, consistent sources of revenue, not gimmicks, quick fixes, or more borrowing.
We are asking that everyone contact their local legislator and end this political stalemate. This is the most serious financial crisis of our lifetimes, and it is time for serious solutions. The time for posturing and sound bites is over. Education is not a Republican issue. Education is not a Democratic issue. Education is non-partisan. We must let the politicians know that action must be taken now in this crisis. Let Sacramento know that education is everything. Schools should be like palaces. We shouldn’t be building monuments to man. Rather, we should be building monuments of man: our children. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce, just like for CEOs. Schools should be absolutely free for its citizens and should be incredibly expensive for government just like national defense. Education is our national defense. Education is the cornerstone of democracy and the basis for providing opportunity for all Americans. Please go to our website at www.mantecateachers.com and click the link to contact your legislators in Sacramento. Thank you.
Ken Johnson
President
Manteca Educators Association
Dec. 21, 2008
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