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Gavin Newsom says California’s Budget Deficit Ain’t as Bad as LAO Says; Plus the Pareto Principle

Pareto Principle of Education: a focus on the least common denomination has an outsized effect:  Give me your poor, the immigrant, the LGBTQ, the Black, the Latino – forget the average, American- and I’ll take care of them from craddle to grave

Gavin Newsom says California’s budget deficit ain’t as bad as the Legislative Analyst’s Office says. A few million here, a few million there, soon it’s a huge budget deficit regardless of who counts: in his revised budget, Newsom included free kindergarten for all 4-year-olds and free health insurance for all low-income adults regardless of their immigration status.

California politicians’ dogged  determination to satisfy special interest groups – aka education industrial complex, results be dammed, as Simon Sinek may suggest,  implies a profit motive rather than altruism. It’s a repudiation of the Pareto Principle of Education- a focus on the least common denomination has an outsized effect:  Give me your poor, the immigrant, the LGBTQ, the Black, the Latino – forget the average.American- and I’ll take care of them from craddle to grave.

Just earlier this week, Newsom was boasting of ‘record investment’ in tourism after ‘record investment’ to fight climate change after ‘record investment’ to fight homelessness after record investment in a high speed rail system that takes you rapidly to nowhere, after record investment in community schools, after record investment to get everybody a four year degree, and so on. Let’s be clear, these are not investments.  More like wealth redistribution. 

There’s not a single study that shows spending should be reduced.  All of them suggest that to address the education industrial complex’s issue, whatever it may be, the state should invest more money in the program. Where “investm” is euphemism for Wealth Redistribution.

As California faces a massive budget deficit, Governor Gavin Newsom does a NYT’s Jordan Ellenberg ” if you crunch the numbers the right way, you can make an argument that it’s statistically harder for California to have a massive budget deficit than to get accepted at Harvard University” disputing the official Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimate of $73 billion deficit. LAO, a nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor, recommends a tax increase, reduced spending and a more prudent approach to higher education spending.

So, anticipating less state aid, CSU campuses start making cuts….by expanding student grants to cover full tuition and living expenses!

cover full tuition and living expenses!

In 2023, just 43% of California third graders met the academic standards on the state’s standardized test in 2023. Only 27.2% of Black students, 32% of Latino students and 35% of low-income children were reading at grade level, compared with 57.5% of white, 69% of Asian and 66% of non-low-income students

Megan Potente and Marshall Tuck think that “Solving California’s early literacy crisis is a social justice imperative.” Megan Potente, is Co-State Director and a former 20-year elementary educator. Marshall Tuck is a venture capital investor, and politician who run twice for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014 and 2018, losing in the general election in both races.
Their solution? ‘Investment’!

But in California it’s not just third graders who do not perform at grade level. California has the lowest literacy rate of any state..Nearly 1 in 4 people over the age of 15 lack the skills to decipher the words in this sentence. Only 77% of adults are considered mid- to highly literate, according to the nonpartisan data crunchers at World Population Review.

In New Hampshire, the most literate state in the country, only about 5 out of 100 lack English reading and writing skills. Its literacy rate hovers near 95 percent. The problem according to experts like Niu Gao, a senior fellow who studies education issues at the Public Policy Institute of California? ‘Investment.’ “We really haven’t been investing” for decades, she said.

According to EdSource, California has one of the lowest rates of English literacy in the U.S. Almost one third of adults in the state can do little more than fill out a basic form or read a very simple piece of writing in English. Many of them are immigrants.” The solution? ‘Investment’ – ” Experts say programs aimed at addressing poor literacy reach only a fraction of adults who need help. One way to reach them is to bring classes directly to the workplace.”

Diluting the value of a four-year college degree even further, the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Degree Program was created to make it easier and more affordable for community college students to get their baccalaureate degree and be eligible for a broader array of employment opportunities. Operative words: easier and affordable, leaving behind $1.7 trillion worth of useless degrees. Not that affordable after all.?

Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers think students are too stupid to figure out which college courses to take to transfer to the University of California, so they mal it easier with AB1291.

The same people say the California University System is not good enough for Black Students. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that grants community college students who transfer to historically Black colleges and universities a one-time grant of up to $5,000.

The same people say the California University System is not good enough for Black Students. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that grants community college students who transfer to historically Black colleges and universities a one-time grant of up to $5,000.

Meanwhile, an influential committee of the UC Academic Senate can’t agree on how much math to take to qualify to attend a four-year California State University

Most high school students are not prepared for college. According to Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report: “Most schools place students in what are called remedial courses in math or English before they can move on to a full load of college-level, credit-bearing courses – a process that is a financial drain on not only students, but also colleges and taxpayers, costing up to an estimated $7 billion a year.” – Many California high school seniors don’t meet requirements to apply to UCs or CSUs.

viable option for these students in trade school. But according to the Atlantic’s Meg St-Esprit the reason most of students do not choose trade schools is due to parents – “when college is held up as the one true path to success, parents—especially highly educated ones—might worry when their children opt for vocational school instead.” In this context, “highly educated” simply means degree holders. Given the accumulated $1.7 Trillion worth of student loans, these highly educated parents are as responsible as the teachers unions for promoting the mantra that in order to succeed, students need a four-year degree to succeed.

In this context, the CalMatters analysis showing that the average time needed for a student to recoup their net costs is about two years at public institutions and a little over three years at nonprofit private colleges in California, is at best, highly suspect ‘ there’s a growing body of research showing that self-serving research isn’t credible.  According to new research from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

Nearly Half of All Masters Degrees Aren’t Worth Getting.  23 percent of bachelor’s degree programs and 43 percent of master’s degree programs have a negative ROI. While, Business Insider reports that in 2015, at age 34, Dan Colflesh decided to quit his job in the customer-service industry and pursue a college degree, which turned out to be worthless. and he’s been looking for a job for 3 years.

Edsource.org’s Michael Burke writes that”Latino students are enrolling at low rates in bachelor’s degree programs at California’s community colleges, even after giving students a simpler path to a four-year degree.”  According to a new study by UCLA’s Latino Policy.  “Across the programs, which range from equine and ranch management at Feather River College to dental hygiene at West Los Angeles College. To address that gap, the study calls for greater recruitment of Latino students to the programs and for the state to invest more money in the programs.” Here again, more investments, more programs, for students who may just be better off going to trade school.

California school districts have been trying to recruit and retain Black teachers for years, but the numbers don’t seem to be increasing. In the last five years, state lawmakers have made earning a credential easier and more affordable, and have offered incentives for school staff to become teachers — all moves meant to ease the teacher shortage and help to diversify the educator workforce. But despite efforts by the state and school districts, the number of Black teachers doesn’t seem to be increasing. Black teachers say that to keep them in the classroom, teacher preparation must be more affordable, pay and benefits increased, and more done to ensure they are treated with respect, supported and given opportunities to lead. Here we go again, lower the standards, make easier, make it affordable and offer incentives. A clear sign that lawmakers are barking at the wrong tree, as Simon Sinek would suggest.

If the CalMatters analysis showing that a California college degree pays for itself, why is it that of the 1.7 trillion student debt, $146.7 billion is owed by California students? The Office of Federal Student Aid says California is the state with the most federal student loan debt, with nearly four thousand borrowers owing a total of $146.7 billion The state of Texas follows second with over $125 billion in student loan debt, according to the office.  Of the $1.7 trillion student debt, Black women owe a disproportionate amount of student debt. They hold 43% more undergraduate debt and nearly 99% more graduate school debt than their white woman counterparts 12 months after graduation, according to an April 2022 study by the nonprofit organization The Education Trust.

It is easy to see that every step of the cradle to death is riddled with inefficiencies.  Yet, someone benefits regardless of the outcome: the education industrial complex.

Worse:  the education system is doing exactly what it was designed to do during the Industrial Revolution, not what’s needed in the Artificial intelligence Revolution.

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