“Honestly, California has lost its way.”
This quote doesn’t come from me. It doesn’t come from my compadres in the Golden State. It doesn’t even come from a person who is known for making blustery, large, sweeping statements like this.
It comes from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, speaking to dozens of mayors, superintendents and school board trustees at San Francisco City Hall this past week.
And then he put some spank on it.
“California used to lead the nation in education.”
That’s right… used to. But now, as we all know, California looks like some sort of mushy-brained prize fighter from an era gone by who still thinks it has the chops to be in the ring with a ferocious opponent — yet its face is being turned into hamburger meat by the opposing educational forces it now faces.
Used to… Damn if that don’t slice to the core.
He also said that, “Our dysfunctional adult relationships have hurt children in far too many places.”
Gee, I might find that grossly offensive it it wasn’t so grossly true.
Duncan also slammed Schwarzenegger’s proposal to lop seven days off the school year, saying students need to be spending significantly more time in class to close the achievement gap. I’ve been saying the same thing for months. I mean by Arnold’s logic, if cutting 7 days of school is going to be fiscally prudent, why don’t we just cancel the entire 2009/2010 school year — that might be downright profitable!!
Thing is, as my state and my peeps out West get body-slammed by Duncan, there’s one thing we all know to be true. If you were to take a look at the top of the mountain, the tip of the iceberg which is above water and not the whole glacier, there’s no one who wouldn’t agree that the state of California has some of the most wicked, most phenomenal, most cutting edge, leading thinkers and educators on the planet. In a definite amount of places, California rocks like no other.
Heck, if we were Rhode Island, we’d be slam-dunking on fools like Kobe Bryant at a Laker game!
But we can’t seem to find a way to spread the love we have at the top all around. The upper tiers have it — and they have it good — but the rest of the state is getting pummeled.
“It’s often at times of crisis we get the reforms we need,” Duncan also mentioned. Well, we certainly need reform. And we certainly are in a crisis. And being that he was pretty much right about everything else he said, I certainly hope our Secretary of Education is right about this one, too.