According to Donna
Warren, Greens’ candidate for lieutenant governor, the state of
California uses one statistic to determine the need for more jail cells.
It looks at the number of
third graders who can’t read – and from that stark statistic, figures
out the number of cells those eight year olds will need to be housed in
ten to fifteen years from now when they turn to a life of crime.
Does the state using this
statistic to figure out how to increase spending on remedial reading?
Does the state using this stark number to figure out how to reduce the
class size of third through fifth grade classrooms throughout the
country? (Currently, the state only mandates that K-2 classrooms have 20
students or less.) Does the state figure out how to spend money on the
education gap between students who don’t know their alphabet at
kindergarten and those who do – before it gets wider and wider and
wider? Does the state figure out the savings between educating a child
at $4,000 a year and housing a prisoner at $60,000 a year?
Does the state for even
one minute consider that these children whom it is planning to lock away
in fifteen years have the potential to cure diseases, create
masterpieces, develop new ways of thinking and/or be productive citizens
who contribute taxes to the state’s coffers and – get this, Governor
Davis – are more likely to donate to a reelection campaign? (Let’s get
their attention where it really is.)
In gross dollars, the
state of California ranks #34 in the amount of money it spends per
pupil. If you use the cost of living index to temper those dollars, the
state of California ranks #48 in the amount of money it spends per
If money talks, then we
can see where the “Education Governor” really puts his priorities.
There are two candidates
running for School Board who understand that the time to reach students
is now. Who understand that the children who are dropping out of school
need to be reached now. That the time to remove the education gap
between entering kindergarteners with universal pre-K programs is now.
There are two candidates who understand, not only in terms of economics
but also in terms of integrity and greater good, that the state of
California should be spending more on students – not more on prisons.
That the state of California should be investing in its children’s
future – and not in future prison cells.
Those candidates are
Sarah Lipson and Whitney Leigh.
Sarah is a long-time
teacher at West Portal Elementary, a consistently high ranking school in
the Sunset. She is currently on maternity leave after the birth of her
daughter, Elsie. Sarah has also worked as a mentor for teenaged girls
and has been an advocate for children all of her life. At debates, the
audience loves her passion for the children and feels her empathy for
parents and teachers. She speaks eloquently against high-stakes testing,
about the lack of support that the current School Board has given to
community schools (such as Phoenix High School), and for the need to
give teachers a respectful salary that reflects their difficult task.
Whitney was a public
defender for ten years for both Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.
He spent most of his time defending youths. He saw that the detainees at
the Youth Guidance Center were missing out on their education while they
were locked up. Did you know that there isn’t a GED program at the Youth
Guidance Center? Most of these detainees were not doing well in school
before they got locked up. But how does the School Board expect them to
do well when they get out (or even stay in school at all after they fall
behind their classmates) – if they don’t have access to books,
resources, teachers, and tutors?
More than any other
candidate running for School Board (including the three incumbents),
Whitney has worked one-on-one with the students who are being
marginalized by the school district. The very ones who are hurt most by
the cuts in funding, the lack of investment in safe schools, the lack of
support to teachers in terms of resources, salary and training, and the
lack of respect given to parents who have to negotiate a bureaucratic
nightmare just to get their children enrolled in a school.
Vote for the future of
San Francisco. Vote for the children rather than the status quo.
Vote for Sarah Lipson and
Whitney Leigh on November 5.