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|Los Angeles, Orange County, CA||June 8, 2010 Election|
By Ken ArnoldCandidate for United States Representative; District 46; Democratic Party
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The fundamentals of a quality education are local in our neighborhoods, schools and homes. Strong families are most important, but our states and even the Federal government have a role to play in leadership, standards, certification and in assuring funding, infrastructure and development to assure affordable access to quality education for all.A strong educational system is critical to our being able to compete in the global economy. A well educated and informed electorate is crucial to the proper functioning of a democracy. Knowledge and understanding are the keys to the most happy and productive lives. As my wife, whose family was persecuted and impoverished after the fall of South Vietnam, likes to say "Education is the most valuable thing becuase it is one thing they can't take away from you".
I am deeply saddened by the state of most public education in this country and especially in this state. California's schools once lead the country and probably the world, now they are near the bottom in this country. The current economic situation is putting unacceptable stress on many schools and institutions of higher education that were already near breaking due to long term budgetary neglect. We had done so much to reduce class sizes and now they are back at record sizes in many districts. We should be sad, ashamed, outraged and very concerned for the future of our country.
I believe in mostly local control of our schools and believe that quality teachers along with strong parental involvement and support is possibly the most important determinate of a child's success. That said, the counties, states and even the federal Department of Education can do a lot in providing guidelines, structure, consistency, materials, educator certification and standards, equitable distribution of resources, funding for facilities, and more.
We need to hold our schools and educators responsible for performance and outcomes, but that does not mean more testing or threats of funding cuts and privatization. NCLB needs to be eliminated or radically changed to become something that does what it was intended to accomplish.
The increasing tuitons at our public colleges and universities are really putting education out of the reach of many highly qualified students whom we would want to have develop to their full potential for the sake of the whole nation and society. Our institutions of higher education are key to our conversion to a sustainable clean energy economy, but budgetary considerations have disabled or hindered many from being fully effective in this realm.
I believe a lot of our nation's success in the last half of the last century was due in part to the WWII Veterans' educational benefits and the growth of our institutions of learning from that. For examples: The focus on education gave us the engineers of the space program, the teachers to educate the boomer generation, the Peace Corp and State Department workers that built up our country's positive image around the world.
We need to see that most taxpayers recognize that education is about the best investment we as a society can make. Then, recommit our schools, cities, states and nation to a program to restore our educational systems and put us back in a position of world leadership, so that we may compete, survive and prosper through these times and into the future.
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