Inept and radical leadership has taken the formerly Golden State to a new low.
California has long been known for its sun, surf, and mountains, not to mention its wine, women, and song. But of late, it has been the go-to state for bad news and is showing no sign of turning things around.
At this time, we have the country’s highest gas prices, the highest number of welfare recipients (more than in Texas and New York combined), and a Sacramento-created energy shortage. Due to lax policies, crime is out of control. In 2021, the two cities in the country that were most affected by retail theft were Los Angeles and San Francisco. Also, violent crime is up 13% in the state since 2019. This is not a national phenomenon.In Florida, for example, it’s down 31.5%.
Then we have the schools. In California, the most recent Smarter Balanced test scores released in late October indicate that just 46.7% of students are meeting literacy standards, and a meager 34.6% are proficient in math. This standardized test is given to all students in grades 3–8 and grade 11. Also, the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows that 30% of the state’s 8th-graders are proficient in reading and 23% are proficient in math.
Despite the abysmal test results on the Smarter Balanced test, the state’s Department of Education asserts that the 2022–23 statewide assessment shows student progress. While the proportion of students who met or exceeded grade-level standards on the state math test did rise slightly from 33.4% in 2021-22 to 34.6% in 2022-23, the fact remains that about two-thirds of California students are below grade level.
So what does the state plan to do about the sorry education results? As a way to increase proficiency in math, the state solons have cooked up a new framework that contends mathematics should be used to “both understand and impact the world.” It argues that math teachers should hold the political position that “mathematics plays a role in the power structures and privileges that exist within our society and can support action and positive change.”
Additionally, tracking students by ability, which has worked well for years, is out. Schools are now encouraged, but thankfully not required, to delay Algebra I until ninth grade – meaning that students would be unable to take Calculus as seniors without doubling up on math classes or taking extra classes during the summer.
Brian Conrad, a Stanford University professor taking issue with the new math framework, explains that the push for equity could backfire. “The experience of San Francisco, for example, shows that when you block eighth-grade Algebra one, which was done in the effort to help to improve the demographics and the high school success rates, in fact, it was a complete failure.”
Should you suffer from gender dysphoria – which the schools have done a masterful job of promulgating – Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bunch of bills that will ensure your distressed state will be honored. AB 5, the “Safe and Supportive Schools Act,” requires the implementation of new “LGBTQ cultural competency training” for teachers and school staff in California.
On a similar note, AB 223, the “Transgender Youth Privacy Act,” requires courts to seal any petition by minors to legally change their gender or sex identification in order to protect their privacy. Parent authorization is not needed to change the vital records of a minor.
In addition to the state screwing up kids, California cities have been stepping up and doing their share.