We’ve watched President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program increase the budget of the Federal Department of Education from $20 billion in 2000 to $37 billion in 2005. President Obama’s Race to the Top and Early Learning Challenge programs have resulted in a Senate subcommittee’s approval in June of a $68.5 billion budget for the Education Department. Despite the billions of dollars our federal government is “investing” (spending) on education, they continually mandate our schools to provide programs and services they are unwilling to fund.
We watch Governor Brown and our elected representatives delay funds they are required by law to provide to our schools while they restructure the state’s public school funding structure in order to redirect their responsibilities and ignore minimum funding limits for public education, limits established by propositions the people of California have supported. We’ve watched our state government squander opportunity after opportunity to reform our public school system while they hold onto an antiquated and inefficient allocation system that ignores the special needs of our most troubled schools.
In Beaumont, just in the last few years, we’ve seen our school board increase the superintendent's compensation package. We’ve seen the previous school board extend contracts and improve compensation packages for our assistant superintendents. All the assistant superintendents we rewarded have moved on. Most of them used Beaumont Unified, and our kids, as a stepping stone to higher paying, more prestigious positions, in larger school districts or at the county office of education. At the same time we've been rewarding our administrators, our district has taken 5 days of instructional time away from our kids this year and next. In future years, our governor has authorized school districts to take up to another 10 days.
We’ve watched Beaumont Uniified's school boards eliminate programs for gifted students, forcing our best and brightest students to leave the district for other schools offering the programs Beaumont parents feel their kids need to succeed in college. We’ve watched our oldest elementary school and newest middle school be designated for program improvement and struggle to meet minimum state requirements. All this is happening while our school boards authorize the construction of a new $12 million state of the art district headquarters.
I love my kids and I am tired of watching their educational opportunities being downgraded. I know most of our schools have some of the best test scores in the county but this is in spite of the decisions and actions of our current and previous school boards. It is because of our outstanding teachers, students, site staff and involved parents.
There isn't a whole lot any of us in Beaumont can do about the state and federal governments' intrusion into our schoools. We have two political parties offering very few solutions and, in California, the voters continue to reelect candidates that have no serious interest in making the tough decisions to reform our public school system.
I want to build a school system in Beaumont that involves more parents as equal partners in determining our kids’ future.
I want to build a Beaumont Educational Foundation, outside the control and restrictions of our state and federal governments, which provides parents and the community an alternative for supporting our kids.
I want to keep our best and brightest students from leaving our district and focus on the kids of our struggling elementary and middle schools by converting these schools into magnet schools specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). I want the magnet schools giving priority to the students already attending Palm Elementary and Mountain View Middle School; keep Beaumont kids in Beaumont schools; and attract other kids from neighboring districts. It is time we reverse the brain drain on our schools.
I want our city government and school district to work together to build an educational community to benefit all our kids.
Work with me, let's build something special.