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California is literally going to hell in a handbasket.
March 10, 2004 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Libraries? Sports? Music Programs? Guidance Counselors? Not on my bill, buddy! That crap is for nerds and jocks. It's all good here in sunny California.
posted by _sirmissalot_ (19 comments total)

 
"No school district in this country has ever abolished its entire sports program. It's caused a firestorm," said school board President Charles Ramsey, who said he had voted reluctantly in favor of the cuts. "And it's not just sports. There will be no music, no forensics, no performing arts."

I congratulate you, you thrifty citizens of West Contra Costa county!
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:54 PM on March 10, 2004


Yes, way to ruin it for the children: West Contra Costa Unified's budget woes are particularly drastic because the district is recovering from bankruptcy more than a decade ago.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:56 PM on March 10, 2004


"If you take away the sports program, you're going to lose a large amount of the school population, period," Carter said. "Canceling sports is not an option."
Um... attending school is not an option for minors as it is law you must attend "public education". Can't recall extra-curricular activities law.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:00 PM on March 10, 2004


Um... attending school is not an option for minors as it is law you must attend "public education".

True, but I think Carter is referring to the fact that many students will find ways to attend school elsewhere in order to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. I know I would have found another school if all of those programs had been cut at my school.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:03 PM on March 10, 2004


District officials had been banking on the passage of Measure J, a parcel tax of $75, to generate $7.5 million annually for five years. The tax was approved by 62.5 percent of the voters in March, falling short of the required two-thirds majority for passage.

Can't recall extra-curricular activities being law.
Wait, it could be in the future: A proposed amendment to California's constitution would give 16-year-olds a half-vote and 14-year-olds a quarter-vote in state elections.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:07 PM on March 10, 2004


The 2/3rds law for revenue initiatives makes it effectively illegal for communities to raise revenues to support their own schools. As a consequence, the state has to take over a lot of the responsibility for school funding. But at the same time, noone is really sure who is responsible for what when it comes to funding.

Amusingly, it only took a simple majority to pass an initiative that made it required that future initiatives required a 2/3rds majority.

But I think this all has to happen so that Californians can finally reap the consequences of their hodge-podge of tax laws.
posted by deanc at 3:11 PM on March 10, 2004


Hey that no child left behind deal sure works well. Extra curricular or no, I think it's just a wonderful idea. No child left behind, indeed. We're lucky to have the "education" president taking care of things. Lucky I tell you. Damn lucky.
posted by damnitkage at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2004


This is one of the most disappointing things I've heard in years.

Sports, music and other extra-curricular activities were huge parts of my high school education.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:24 PM on March 10, 2004


I'm squarely on the fence for this one. I'm in favor of sport for kids, but not through the school system. Little leagues, juniors for local major sports teams, youth clubs, public parks with sports fields, all these are great ideas. But school needs to be about education, which needs, above all else, libraries.

'Course, another neat solution is to alter copyright law on non-fiction publications to allow people to access the content free of charge through schools and universities (way to kill the textbook market, Ash ...), so that the idea of a separate library for each school becomes a thing of the past and all a school needs is a roomful of net-connected computers.

Anyway in the absence of a sports program, the sport-inclined kids will play pick-up games in their lunchtimes whether or not the school employs physical education teachers, and the nerds, skinnies, fatties and drama fags will breathe a collective asthmatic sigh of relief as at least some of their daily humiliation ends.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:26 PM on March 10, 2004


Well, at least they did one fair thing and cut all extra-curriculars instead of "death by a thousand cuts." For that matter, kudos for cutting "extras" instead of things that actually educate children.

In the end, I bet you all a (virtual) quarter that the parents will raise the money to fund some of the cut programs through donations and fund drives.
posted by ilsa at 4:33 PM on March 10, 2004


Well, once could make an argument that sports teach students to work towards goals as a team and encourage life long good health; that forensics teach students how to do independent research, argue positions intelligently and speak with confidence and clarity; that arts programs have a whole bunch of payoffs, not the least of which is an encouragement of creativity, something valued by many companies over GPA; that having people who specialize and guidance counselors means that teachers don't have to do that, which means that they have more time to prep and, you know, teach; and that libraries have books and stuff, which are not entirely out of style yet.

Anyhow, I say to hell with the "extras" too. As long as Johnny can balance his check book, aim the ketchup squirter at the burger, know that it is spelled "elite" and not 'l33t," and know which hand to put over his heart when reciting the pledge, school is a success. /wink
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:01 PM on March 10, 2004


The 2/3rds law for revenue initiatives makes it effectively illegal for communities to raise revenues to support their own schools.

Not true, deanc, since my fellow Mountain Viewers in the same election last week passed a similar parcel tax of $75-600 with just under 70% approval; numerous other South Bay districts did the same.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:28 PM on March 10, 2004


"No school district in this country has ever abolished its entire sports program..."

Actually, mine did, way back in '77-'78. I remember a lot of pissed-off jocks who took to doing what the rest were doing... lots of drugs! sigh.

Bad idea, but what seems to happen often when the only say property owners have in the amount of tax they pay exists only at school board meetings.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:18 PM on March 10, 2004


The thing that sucks about this isn't that sports is on the chopping block -- it's that sports is going to get all the donations needed to stay alive, while libraries, guidance counselors, music, etc. will rot.

What the district should do is create a pool, making it so that when people donate, they don't just donate to sports, but to a general fund that will support all the institutions. Want to save football, sporto? Good. Save the guidance counselors too. It's not like "coach" is somehow more likely to assure you of a good future than the guy who helps you get into the college of your choice.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:04 PM on March 10, 2004


I think the biggest loss to the district, or at least the one most likely to be felt, is the fact that all the Guidance Counselors are being let go. When it comes to college admissions, Sports and Music look great on a transcript, but the transcript has to *get* to the college on time before a student can even be evaluated.

I work for an Admissions office part time, and I spent the last two weeks on the phone to Guidance Counselors trying to drum up transcripts that got lost in the mail or never sent to begin with; without their help our application rate would have been down more than 3% (which would be a big deal in my office). Guidance Counselors are also relied on to work with local feeder schools -- they maintain relationships with the schools and make sure that they send appropriate candidates along.

The Juniors and Seniors in this district are being royally screwed out of a higher education.
posted by krisis at 8:05 PM on March 10, 2004


California is not literally going to hell in a handbasket. For one thing, I'm pretty sure you can't fit an entire state in a handbasket.
posted by boltman at 9:40 PM on March 10, 2004


Yeah, only Texas could make a handbasket that big.
posted by wendell at 9:45 PM on March 10, 2004


Actually, it is. It is going to hell in a California-sized basket which the Governator, Hercules-style, is going to pitch off the edge of the Pacific for the amusement of his Republican friends in DC.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:51 PM on March 10, 2004


Not true, deanc, since my fellow Mountain Viewers in the same election last week passed a similar parcel tax of $75-600 with just under 70% approval;

Just under 70% would still qualify as two-thirds, so long as it was above 66.666666...%. Unless they've changed math since I was in school, of course.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:56 PM on March 10, 2004


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