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Sacramento ready to flush state’s future down toilet

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POSTED June 19, 2009 1:46 a.m.
Thank goodness the current California Legislature wasn’t around during the Great Depression.

If they had, we’d all be riding mules and begging for food in the streets.

The mantra up in Sacramento these days is when the going gets tough, lower your standards.

Consider a key committee dealing with the budget in the California Legislature. On Wednesday, the folks who almost single-handely have brought down the world’s seventh largest economy voted to eliminate the high school exit exam graduation requirement.

The reason? Not enough money was one excuse but another one ranked right up there – “the test has been controversial.” Freely translated that means they didn’t believe it was effective as claimed.

Let’s take the money excuse first.

Things were going into the toilet much more severely during the 1930s but you didn’t see the leaders say “can’t do” and resign themselves to a life of low expectations. From the Depression rose the Greatest Generation ever that not only saved the world for democracy but also put a man on the moon, planted the seeds for computers and the internet as well as substantially improve the quality of health and living.

What would have happened if the leaders of the time eventually said everyone needed to lower their standards and that they couldn’t succeed because the state couldn’t pour truckloads of money into schools any longer? They would have been tarred and feathered and run out of Sacramento.

Today, we don’t even flinch as many of us are buying into the “woe is me” syndrome. The Titanic has hit an iceberg so does every last hope for the future have to die in a sea of red ink? Only if one doesn’t have the will to survive and thrive.

The message the legislature is sending is clear: We have less money now so we must lower our standards. Less money for police? No problem. It’s OK to ignore crime being committed.

Not enough money for healthcare? No problem. Don’t even make an effort to make it work. People should get seriously ill and die because we don’t have bushels of money any longer.

It is clear our state leaders only know one thing and one thing only when it comes to problem solving – throw money at it. And if there is no more money to throw, lower your standards. What a legacy to leave the next generation – roll over and die because the going is getting tough. You don’t have to strive to overcome adversity because there is less money.

Now for the fun part.

Several assembly members – including Mark Leno of San Francisco – pointed out that one research study now shows there are problems with the test.

The Stanford University research suggests minorities and girls that do as well as boys and whites on other tests conducted in all public schools in California fail the exit exam at a significantly higher rate. The Stanford study also concludes the exam is not improving student performance in school.

Now isn’t that great. It was the legislature that led the stampede into the exit exam over objections it was being rushed and now that they can hang their hat on one study to get them off the hook during a budget crisis they fold the tent and go running.

Wouldn’t it make sense to work out the kinks and move forward instead of retreating? You can’t do that, of course, without hijacking a couple of armored trucks loaded with taxpayer money.

It is becoming more apparent with each passing day of the deepening budget crisis that the Golden State’s official bird should be the yellow bellied sap sucker and not the California Valley Quail.
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