The following editorial was originally published in this month's Magazine of Santa Clarita.
Ann Unger is the Executive Director of the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation.
It was a clear, sunny day when over 50 people got on a bus to take a 5-hour ride to Sacramento hosted by KHTS, AT&T and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth. The purpose of the trip was to show our concern and interest in the affairs of the state and our City. The main topics were education, water, transportation and, of course, the budget. To say the least, it was a very informative trip. I went away with many thoughts and ideas, and hope for the future. Plus the overwhelming feeling that there is a lot of work to do. That may not be so bad though. History has shown us that many good things have come from difficult times.
Like most people, my main concern is our educational system. There is no quick fix. It is going to take a lot of work to reform a system that many call beyond broken and now stressed further by the current budget crisis. It is a daunting and bleak situation. So, where do we start?
My first suggestion is to stop blaming whoever and whatever caused the mess in the first place. It is what it is. Contrary to popular opinion, our elected officials do care and they recognize the difficulties that must be overcome to make changes. Granted, one of those difficulties is the difference of opinion between our elected officials on how and what to change. So, we need to step in.
We cannot solely rely on the government to ‘fix things’. It will take the collective effort of government, parents, administration, California Teacher’s Association, School Boards, Parent Teacher Association, other educational organizations and individuals. All of us need to become knowledgeable with the issues in depth and learn how they affect our students. See things beyond one perspective and think objectively. Together we can begin the process of reforming the educational system. Concessions are needed, compromises must be made and mandates changed. It won’t be easy and it will take time and patience. However, if we keep the big picture in mind – high quality public school education for all children – it can be done.
Thank you Carl and Jeri for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Sacramento Road Trip. It was of great service to me.
To read more about the 2009 Sacramento Road Trip, click here!