CA Legislators Must Walk MLK Day Talk
Today California legislators are tweeting quotations from Martin Luther King. They should compare the objectives expressed in their tweets with the state of affairs for their constituents, starting with the six million children in California public schools and the 14 million customers of the state’s single-payer health care system.
Despite a massive increase in state spending on K-12 education — Governor Brown’s budget proposal indicates more than $16,000 per student in 2018–19 — poor and minority students in California under-perform their counterparts in states like Texas that spend less. Despite record revenues from tax increases and a long bull market, school districts with large minority populations in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco are devoting less to teacher staffing and salaries because of greater spending on retired personnel. The net result: spending is up but not student performance.
California’s legislators have the power to change that result. All it takes is 41 members of the State Assembly, 21 members of the State Senate and the governor to enact changes to an Education Code that presently prevents California from providing stellar services to every one of its six million K-12 students.
The same goes for the 14 million Californians covered by the state’s single-payer system, Medi-Cal, on which the state has doubled spending since 2010. Provider profits have improved but the same cannot be said for emergency room visits, appointment wait times and healthiness. California’s legislators have the power to make Medi-Cal work better for its customers, to end profiteering by providers, to get more health out of each Medi-Cal dollar, and to stop Medi-Cal’s crowding-out of other services required by citizens, such as the University of California, California State University, courts, parks and social services.
Actions speak louder than words. Govern For California supports legislators who act in the general interest.