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Support the California Jobs Initiative

20 Years of Reform Have Done Little for Struggling California Schools

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415
909-387-4866


Chino Hills District Office:
14010 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-465-1895


Staff Members:
Mark Kirk,
Chief of Staff

Joy Chadwick,
Deputy Chief of Staff

Brian Johsz,
District Director

Annette Taylor,
Executive Secretary

Michael Delgado,
Executive Analyst

Naseem U. Farooqi,
Analyst

Burt Southard,
Media Relations

Roman Nava,
Small Business Liason

Grace Hagman,
Field Representative

Larry Enriquez,
Field Representative

Jeanna Pomierski,
District Secretary
May 2010

Support the California Jobs Initiative


Click the following link to view Supervisor Ovitt's Video:
http://www.sbcounty.gov/bosd4/multimedia/ViewVideo.aspx?vid=177

The Board of Supervisors on April 13, 2010 adopted a resolution supporting the California Jobs Initiative, proposed to be considered by the voters on the November 2010 ballot. If passed, implementation of Assembly Bill 32 will be suspended until California's unemployment rate is at 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive calendar quarters.

Current law forces California to shift to cleaner but much costlier forms of energy by 2020 to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions believed to heat up the atmosphere. It will do so in phased-in implementation of a complex "cap-and-trade" system in which companies pay for emission quotas.

California has always been a leader in business innovation and technology, and also in environmental stewardship. But this is one case where our effort to be a leader could drive our economy into total collapse.

In 2006, California's Legislature passed Assembly Bill 32, a sweeping law designed to combat Global Warming. At the time the bill was signed by the Governor, the unemployment rate in California was 4.8 percent. Since its adoption, California has been hit by a global recession and the state unemployment rate has now surpassed 12 percent, with the County of San Bernardino's rate of unemployment nearing almost 15 percent.

Supporters of AB 32 often talk about "green jobs" and "green economy". And I have stated repeatedly that I believe renewable energy will be a key component of our regional economic future. We will continue to be a leader in the development of renewable energy because we have the resources here, namely the sun and the wind.

But "green jobs" don't fix the problem. The California Air Resources Board's own flawed and ridiculously optimistic estimate is that job growth from AB 32 will be minimal. And that estimate was made before this historic downturn.

Several studies predict that AB 32 will cost small businesses billions of dollars with massive increases in the price of gasoline, electricity, food and water, thereby slowing economic recovery and job creation. AB 32 contains a provision that would allow the Governor to delay implementation in the event of "extraordinary circumstances," including "significant economic harm." Unfortunately, to date the Governor has not agreed that the current economic crisis in California is severe enough to delay the implementation of AB 32.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office in March 2010 issued a report that not only highlighted the flaws in CARB's analysis, but found that "The (greenhouse gas) mitigation measures that raise costs for certain forms of energy in California, can, especially in the near term, reduce the rates of return for certain business enterprises, impairing their profitability and, at the extreme, even inducing them to relocate or expand elsewhere."

The report further states: "Implementing AB 32 will involve various labor force dislocations, including temporary job losses and unemployment for some people, and permanent unemployment and income disruption for others."

Because of the enormous investments required by utilities, fuel producers, businesses and families to achieve AB 32's required carbon reductions, experts predict significant financial impacts, such as:
  • Over 1.1 million lost jobs statewide
  • Cost the average family $3,857 annually in increased expenses for housing, transportation, food and energy
  • Increase of $49,691 per small business
  • Devastate budgets of California through massive losses in tax revenue
  • $3.7 billion a year in higher gasoline and diesel costs
  • Up to $50,000 added to the cost of a new home
  • Possible $143 billion cap and trade auction tax to offset AB32's higher energy prices and job losses
The California Jobs Initiative will keep AB 32 on the books while adjusting its timetable until the state's unemployment crisis improves. With more than 2.2 million people out of work in the state and the jobless rate at close to 15 percent or higher in some counties including San Bernardino, the initiative represents a common-sense approach to protecting jobs and holding the line on costs for California's struggling families.

An analysis done for the California Small Business Roundtable by Cal State Sacramento found the costs to every segment the economy would be devastating. Each California household would pay an extra $4,000 per year. Most small businesses operate on a 10 percent profit margin, and AB 32 would impose at least 10 percent in new costs. The cost to California economy as a whole: $182.6 billion annually or 10 percent of the total state economy. And in the end, the potential loss of 1.1 million jobs.

The AB 32 law itself says in its findings that, "National and international actions are necessary to fully address the issue of Global Warming." This is an issue that must be dealt with at those levels, not at the state level. Our best efforts will have a minuscule impact on global emissions. If no one else is playing by these rules, we're putting ourselves at an enormous competitive disadvantage.

As we all know, California is in enough trouble already. This is like throwing a drowning man an anchor. We cannot afford to implement this regulatory regime that will drive up costs, drive out business, and drive families to the poorhouse.

Passage of this initiative could potentially save more than a million jobs and prevent devastating expense increases to families and small businesses in San Bernardino County.

20 Years of Reform Have Done Little for Struggling California Schools

Despite new curriculums, smaller class sizes and more reforms than you could shake a stick at, a sobering new study by the Brookings Institution has found that most of California's low-performing schools in 1989 remained that way 20 years later.

The research by Brookings' Brown Center on Education Policy compared the state test scores of 1,156 schools from 1989 to 2009. Of the 290 schools that were in the lowest categories two decades ago, 184 (63.4 percent) scored similarly last year. About one in four moved up slightly. Only four schools (1.4 percent) went from the bottom to the top in test performance during that 20-year time period.

The persistence of test scores has major implications for today’s push to turn around failing schools. It can be done, but the odds are daunting. California certainly cannot be accused of inactivity in education reform from 1989 to 2009. Few states tried as many diverse, ambitious reforms that targeted every aspect of the school system—finance, governance, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Not only have these efforts failed to elevate California from its low national ranking on key performance measures, but they have also had little effect on the relative ranking of schools within the state.

The study suggests that people who say we know how to make failing schools into successful ones but merely lack the will to do so are selling snake oil. In fact, successful turnaround stories are marked by idiosyncratic circumstances. The science of turnarounds is weak and devoid of practical, effective strategies for educators to employ. Examples of large scale, system-wide turnarounds are nonexistent. A lot of work needs to be done before the odds of turning around failing schools begin to tip in a favorable direction.

The Brown Center report also argues that the jury is still out on whether converting underperforming schools into charters makes any difference. After collecting data on 49 converted schools in California, researchers found that low reading and math scores persisted.

The Brown Center report suggests that more study is needed before latching on to charters as a viable solution.

Converting failing schools to charter schools has generated tremendous interest in recent years. That interest rests on the hope of reformers that chartering offers a way to radically change the operations of a school, to redirect its institutional energies toward success rather than failure.

Based on what is currently known about conversion schools, which is only a hope, not an intervention documented as having a high probability of success. More must be learned about conversion charters if they are to realize their promise as a tool of school reform.