When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared this as the “Year of Education,” did he actually mean educating the public and parents on who is valued in California? When observing his actions, it is not our children.

Our government is squeezing the life out of public education on the backs of our sons and daughters.

Unfunded mandates, increasing annually through 2014, through high-stakes testing of only one intelligence, while stripping away relationships and resources, yet calling our children and their schools “failures” when they don’t succeed. This is in the best interests of our children?

Every child is born with a divine spark within that defines his or her purpose in life. They deserve to realize their unique potential. Every child deserves hope. Every child deserves opportunity. Every child deserves to feel safe.

When our children feel safe, academic test scores accelerate. Research and statistics prove that it only takes one adult in the life of a child to turn their life around. The very structures and relationships that support safe learning communities are the very relationships at risk. These are human issues about a whole child. Already, one out of three students are not graduating. How will these additional cuts impact our drop out rate?

San Diego County has 42 public school districts with 434,910 students. Cuts to five of the largest funding allocations for public schools in our county would equal $636.00 per child. This is the largest budget cut in state funding since 1978.

Three hundred and sixty million dollars cut from our children’s public education in San Diego County alone. As taxpayers, we voted on our elected public officials to have our family’s best interests at heart. Absolutely, the top of our list of priorities was our sons and daughters education. Governor Schwarzenegger does not have our children at the top of his list of priorities. Why?

Our children are limitless … in a myopic, limited public education environment headed to failure.

Every dollar cut will have a negative impact on our children’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Their nurses, counselors, bus drivers, teachers, vice-principals, security officers are all impacted. Reducing busing, eliminating zero periods, music programs, electives, and increasing class sizes all negatively affect our children’s school campuses.

These individuals and programs are many of our children’s connections to school. Personally, from my own experience, individuals who have lost their jobs were my life line. The sense of loss our children will endure in the coming months is profound, long lasting and will impact our schools long beyond these journal entries on a piece of paper.

Our public education system is in crisis. SDUSD endured an entire year of crisis: The October fires; Carl Cohn retiring late last year; the welcoming our new Superintendent Terry Grier; and now, the proposed budget cuts. Our learning communities, with their morale broken, continue tenaciously on behalf of our sons and daughters.

Shame on our government for placing these financial burdens on our children’s back. More importantly, shame on us … for letting this happen to our families.

We are the solution! We are the answer! We, as parents, have a personal responsibility to educate ourselves on our children’s reality, and be role models for change. Contact your local Congressman. Contact Governor Schwarzenegger. Contact CAPTA.

We are a global society in the information age. Our children are the savviest youth in the history of humankind. When they first sat down in front of a computer screen, they literally had our entire world at their fingertips.

Youth today are inspirational with their activism and advocacy. They see the clarity, with insight and moxie! Help your child find their “voice“.

In life, there is not any ambiguity. You are either part of the problem — or you are part of the solution. Complain and do nothing — you are part of the problem.

— DANA BROWN

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