Re: taxifornia power sitch

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 01:38:53 MDT

This seems a bit dubious to me as well. Perhaps it's an overstatement for
effect. I do know that there's no actual "education K-16 system" here.
Education in California is divided into various K-12 school districts, the
Community College system, and two university systems, the Universities of
California (like UCLA) and the California State Universities (like Fresno

As for the "total mess" Ralph is referring to, I'm at a loss as to what he
means by this. As we all know, no large governmental system works perfectly (or
even very well), but sweeping generalizations about a state with (I think) more
than 20 million people are a bit disingenuous at best. I work for a rather
large "small town" school district that has very high academic standards and
has turned out quite a number of excellent and well-educated students. This
doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions (both with teachers and students),
because there are always exceptions to everything. This also happens to be an
area where roughly half of the population are not native English speakers,
unemployment usually hovers around 22%, and the median income for a family of
four is around $20K. To say that teaching here is a challenging occupation
would be an understatement.

As for the community college system, my wife happens to teach for a small
college in the system and has similar challenges. And even though many of the
students that reach her have limited reading & writing skills, I can tell you
for a fact that no one graduates who can't read. That would be ridiculous.
Additionally, I can tell you that I have never met a harder working and more
dedicated faculty (and I've worked for two large state universities, in two
other states). The obstacles they face on a daily basis are staggering, but
most of their students graduate with the ability to read and write at the
college level (or else they don't make it), and with enhanced critical thinking
skills. This is a major accomplishment in an area where many of these students'
parents didn't even graduate from high school (and many still don't speak

Since my experience with California education is limited to these two places,
both of which are in a small, rural community where people often see education
as the only way they and their children are going to have a chance to better
their lives, I may be missing something that is going on in other areas of the
state (it's a big state) where people may be more cynical about education.. I
would be interested in hearing more specifics about this incident (or
incidents), as it definitely concerns and perplexes me.

Neal Blaikie

Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> Ralph Lewis wrote,
> > If you think the power situation is bad you ought to see the total mess in
> > the educational K-16 system. We are now giving BS degrees to students who
> > can't read. Sort of gives a new meaning to the BS degree.
> How real is this? Does anyone have a specific example of someone getting a
> BS degree who can't read? In what science major? I keep hearing about
> this, but I can't believe this actually occurs. This isn't referring to
> sports scholarships, honorary degrees or private religious schools, is it?
> --
> Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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