NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

California Is Blueprint For What Not To Do In Education

March 24, 2000

Education specialists point to California as one of the worst examples of how to manage public pre-college-level education. Moreover, Los Angeles stands out as one of the most blunder-prone school districts in the state.

Critics chalk up its sorry record to the dominance of education bureaucrats and teachers' unions. Consider the following:

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District built a $200 million school on an old oil field with considerable natural gas emissions -- with the result that the facility is totally useless.
  • Almost 50 percent of students for the 1999-2000 school year were socially promoted -- meaning that they were sent up to the next grade regardless of how badly they were performing.
  • Small wonder, critics say, that in the California State University system -- which takes the top 30 percent of the state's high school graduates -- 54 percent of freshmen need remedial math and 47 percent need remedial English.
  • The percentages are much higher at some campuses -- including Los Angeles.

Critics charge that California's educational establishment has abandoned expectations of achievement among those it is responsible for educating. One result is that the state's high-tech companies must retrain California's college graduates or look elsewhere for employees capable of quality work.

Source: Sally Pipes (Pacific Research Institute), "Real School Choices on California Ballot Offer a Litmus Test for Gore and Bush," Investor's Business Daily, March 24, 2000.


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