It has been a while since I’ve written a letter to the editor, but the budget crisis and cuts in education have gotten so severe that it’s time to speak out for some common sense. If you don’t like paying taxes (which pretty much means everyone, myself included), you probably won’t like what I have to say. Unfortunately, it may be the only option left. My letter to the Orange County Register follows. Update: It was published in the April 4, 2011 issue and will soon be on ocregister.com.
Comedian Lewis Black summarized the problem with public education by saying, “We want to give our children a great education, but we don’t want to pay for it.” The state needs to balance its budget and eliminate waste. But slashing programs, laying off teachers, and hiking tuition to the point where children can’t afford college is a false economy. California will grow less competitive than areas that offer quality education. We’ll waste potential talent and stifle the innovation that has helped our state grow.
It’s time for us to face an unpleasant truth. We can’t balance the budget and provide adequate services without raising taxes. It’s the last thing anyone wants to hear, but we must admit that cost-cutting alone won’t get us out of this crisis.
All of us benefit from having an educated populace. All of us profit from having well-trained workers, new technology from innovative minds, and more productive citizens. If we want the benefits of education, we as Californians must be willing to pay for it.