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Ray Haynes

The Greatest Sin of All – The Complete and Utter Failure of the Democrats to Fix the Schools

40 Years – Two generations, no action to correct the continuing failure of our schools. The failure to correct the downward spiral of the quality of California’s schools is the greatest sin of the Democrat controlled Legislature.

In my talks to the Legislature, when I talked about the “intractable problems” of the state that the Democrats continually failed to address, I would always include the schools, because they have been lost in the wilderness for at least 40 years. Lack of leadership, union control of the processes of management, curriculum, and operation of schools, and lack of accountability have led to at least two generations of the needs of students for a quality education lost to the wants of those who make money off the system and the frustration of parents who are only looking to the school system to help prepare those children for life in the continual complexity of society.

Our education system is a political monopoly. We have amazing teachers who are dominated by union leadership that is more focused on maintaining the flow of cash to their pockets and political power from the tax fed budget than they are about meeting their obligation to teach students how to read, write, add and subtract. Anyone who can afford it flees the system, because anyone who is honest about it knows the system is failing, and has been failing for decades. Yet the leadership in the Legislature, and, of course, our own Arrogant Lazy Authoritarian in Charge (ALAIC), Gavin Newsom, kowtow to their union masters.

Make no mistake, as much as they try to claim the mantle of teachers, the fact is that the union leadership cares as little about the rank and file teacher as they do about the children in the system. The focus of the union is maintaining the flow of tax dollars into their own pockets, and keeping control of political structure in the Legislature and the local level to ensure that no one contests the unions lordship over the school system and its billions of dollars.

This is how the various teachers’ unions keep control of the process: (1) They collect millions of dollars from the teachers throughout the state in union dues; (2) they funnel a portion of those millions into political campaigns for the Legislature to maintain the status quo in Sacramento; (3) the rest of those political donations go to local school board races to keep a majority on the school boards throughout the state; and (4) finally they use their influence over their puppets on the school boards to make sure no school administrator that has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the union ever gets hired by one of the union controlled school boards, and the union controls most of the school boards in the state. As a result, only union toadies get the top paying administrative jobs in the state, and the ones who care about the children either are stuck in the small districts in the state, or they leave the state to find a job where they might be able to advance. Anyone who would actually stand up for children or teachers in the state is blackballed. Only apologists for the union advance.

And our schools continue to fail.

There is really only one solution to the failure of the schools in our state: some form of unfettered school choice. Are there downsides to school choice? Of course there is, but on balance school choice would benefits children, parents, and the best teachers. Today, the rules of how the schools are administered protects bad teachers, by making it nearly impossible to get rid of them, and fails to reward good teachers, but not allowing to pay the best teachers the highest wage. Parents know who the good teachers are, a test is not really needed to evaluate teachers if the school dollars followed the students. Parent would follow the best teachers, and schools, if they wish to survive, will pay the best teachers a good wage to attract the dollars that the parents (instead of the Legislature) would control, because they would get more money from the parents who want their children to get the best education. Good teachers don’t need a union to protect them, the parents will, which of course why the unions don’t want good teachers to get ahead.

Does every parent care? No, but once again, a rising tide lifts all boats. The children of parents who don’t care will get a better education, because enough parents will care that the quality of education and that will increase its quality.

The fact is, the current system is failing our children, and those who parcel out the money don’t care. The Democrat leadership in the Legislature only care about the hands that feed their power, and the unions do all they can to make sure they feed the power to keep up the flow of dollars. The losers are the children, and the parents who struggle for their child’s education.

California wastes billions of dollars each year on this failed system, and the failure of the people in charge of the institutions that control those dollars is a sin of monumental proportions. We will be judged harshly by history for this failure, that is, if any student in the future actually studies history.