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VOSD held a public forum Thursday night with a panel of well-intentioned folks who are concerned about the state of education in San Diego city schools. An audience member asked me via Twitter why I was not at the forum.

The reasons are several. One reason is that I’m tired of hearing people talk about public education problems who don’t or can’t do much to fix those problems.

I write this VOSD blog to express my personal opinions on education. But I try to go beyond just talking to actually doing. For the latter, I put in lots of unpaid volunteer hours with the PTA at various operational levels. And although we may not get any publicity for our efforts or participate on sexy public forums, PTA is getting real stuff done.

Look, at this time, the only people in the state of California with any real power to fix the budget problems our schools are facing are the assemblymembers and senators sitting up in Sacramento.

Ninth District PTA, which oversees hundreds of school-level PTAs in both San Diego and Imperial counties, is actually meeting with elected leaders to discuss solutions to public funding for education. On our schedule this week are Assemblymen Ben Hueso, Marty Block and Brian Jones, as well as state Senators Christine Kehoe and Mark Wyland. We also had a meeting with Nathan Fletcher, but his office rescheduled us to January.

Of course, if our elected officials won’t pass legislation to support public education, we have to go to the voters of California to get the job done through a ballot initiative.

To that end, the California State PTA has a team of volunteers that has spent months looking at budget solutions being proposed by various groups. After much research and discussion, CAPTA has endorsed a ballot initiative being proposed by the nonprofit Advancement Project, called The Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act. You can read more about that here.

So, sure, discussing “schools on the brink” is edgy (sorry for the pun!) and valuable for sharing concerns and ideas. But, our concerns aren’t going to dissipate with more therapeutic talking. And some people’s ideas are well-meaning but impractical.

Personally, I want to see less pontificating, more pondering. And less dithering, more doing.

Bey-Ling Sha lives in San Carlos.


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