Response to Article
An article was written raisin g the issues facing the education sector in the state of California. It highlighted the issues of a high population in the state, the policy framework that governs the education sector, the reduction of the budget allocation in the recent years, the need to raise taxes to fund education in the state and the various policy statements by both the political divides of the federal government.
The article raised an issue with the reduction in the education budget of the state of California. According to the article, this budget cut was at 9.3%. I however wish to take a little divergent position on this matter and bring to your attention that this budget cut was necessitated by the economic hardships which were not only being experienced in the nation but on a global scale. Against a backdrop of these conditions, the budget cuts in the education sector in California were actually conservative compared to the cuts which occurred in the other parts of the United States. It is upon this that I argue that we should actually commend the state government for not allowing the austerity measures which were taken up to eat significantly into the state budget. I believe that there are also plans to make amends for this as the economy once again picks up and rectify the erosion of any gains which had so far been made on the education sector.
In the article, an argument is fronted to the effect that the state of California should raise the rate of taxes, and a specific emphasis made on increasing the taxes of the rich so that enough funds are availed to fund a system of free education. However this idea seems attractive, it is ill informed, especially during this era of market oriented economies. Effort towards the gaining of the benefits of education should not be left to the government alone. Rather, individuals should also make personal contributions towards education and this can only be through financial contribution. The role of the state should remain as it has always been in the past few decades; providing subsidies to the education sector while allowing for private citizens who wish to reap the benefits of higher education learning to make part contributions towards this end. This is the only way that the market economy in which we currently will be able to realistically support education.
I also wish to point out that an increase in the tax rate would likely have a negative impact on the cost of doing business in the state; a situation which is would be very unfortunate in our currently globally competitive world. There are very lucrative business industries which operate from California, and an increase in the tax rate would likely act as a cue for them to leave the state and seek more commercially conducive locations elsewhere. The people of the state of California would lose both in the short run and in the long run, and a reversal of such a situation would most likely be very expensive socially and financially and would take a very long time.
The article makes a comparison of the various opinions of both democrats and republicans regarding their position on education funding. It articulates the stand of President Barack Obama, vice president Joe Biden and the Republican Party. These opinions are formed by leaders in the federal government, and may not reflect the opinion of the leaders in the state government of California. As such, the weight that the article gives to these political plans by federal leaders is misleading since when such policies come into effect, they apply to all the parts of the nation and the state government have very little control over them. I therefore feel that the focus of the article should have been on state measures and not on federal probable policy developments.
In conclusion, I feel that the article did raise issues which should be looked upon more keenly in the process of developing access to education at all levels of education in California. Improvements should be sought on several fronts in the education sector, not only in funding but also on enrolment and reduced dropout rates. In this way, the long term goals of providing a highly qualified and skilled workforce not only to the state but the nation as a whole will be achieved.
John L. Rury; Education and Social Change: Themes in the History of American Schooling, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. Print.
Parkerson, Donald H. and Parkerson, Jo Ann. Transitions in American Education: A Social History of Teaching. Routledge, 2001. Print.
Ravitch, Diane. Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms. Simon & Schuster, 2000. Print.