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Testing California's Commitment to Education


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Michael S. Malone



Just a generation ago, California’s schools were the pride of American education (it’s one of the reasons my parents moved with me to California in the early 1960s). Today, tracking with the economic woes of the rest of the Golden State, California’s schools rank 30th in the country . . .and falling.


Now it could get much worse – and quickly –as one of the few bright spots of California public education is at risk of disappearing. The implications to the state’s high education enclaves, such as Silicon Valley, are frightening. But for California’s low-income, high-unemployment regions in places like the Central Valley and the state’s urban centers, the impact could be devastating. Indeed, what lingering hope there is that California can recover its old luster in less than a generation may evaporate as well.


The program is called the International Baccalaureate. If you haven’t heard of it it’s probably because the program has done a far better job at helping elementary and high school students than it has at promoting itself or its confusing name. In retrospect, it probably should have spent more time on the latter, because now as California cuts its educational budget the program – at least its California operation of more than 200 schools across the state – is facing a dangerous shortfall of its $2.5 million annual budget.



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Sure it is bad news. Sure lots of reasons CA schools are in trouble. Losing the IB program, although a hit, impacts a very small number of kids, compared to "quality" public education for the masses.

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