The State of California’s Education
By Gary DeLong
The state of California’s education system—both secondary and higher education—is in decline.
The nonpartisan California Budget Project refers to the last ten years of cuts as “A Decade of Disinvestment” in their report enumerating the ongoing failure of Sacramento legislators to direct our educational system.
Even worse, the secondary system has fallen to the bottom of the rankings in several key indicators for quality of education. California ranks 46th among the states in K-12 spending per student, 47th in terms of spending as a percentage of personal income, and finishes 50th—dead last in the nation—with the highest teacher to student ratio.
How did it come to this? California was once the gold standard for education in the United States. The answer is simple—fiscal irresponsibility. Budgetary negligence has decimated the financial health of our state, and our children are paying the price. Districts are forced to cut programming and lay off teachers, and universities raise tuition, cut course offerings and reduce the number of spots for incoming Freshman.
So how do we fix this mess?
First and foremost, putting the State of California’s fiscal house in order will enable us to put education back where it belongs—at the top of the list of priorities. We must reign in the costs of government in every sector in order to protect vital services like education against economic variability. There is no question we need to increase funding to our schools. We can make that happen if we judiciously spend elsewhere.
Teacher effectiveness ought to be our top priority. Our schools must institute fair and effective systems of teacher and administrator accountability. We can no longer allow moneyed special interest groups to thwart efforts to establish meaningful rubrics for evaluating the public servants we trust with our children’s futures.
In September the legislature nearly passed AB 5, a teacher accountability law that the Huffington Post called a “Giant Step Back for Teacher Evaluation.” Even the State PTA opposed AB 5, stating “we believe that there are too many questions left unanswered for State PTA to support AB 5. While we understand the desire for teacher involvement in the design of any evaluation system, the extent to which local bargaining will determine the content and character of the evaluation system is unclear.”
Furthermore, if California institutes a balanced, robust teacher evaluation system (and AB 5 was not), California will continue to be eligible for federal No Child Left Behind funds. Secondly, it will free California’s teachers from the strict requirements that incentivize them to “teach to the test,” which has caused for a severe lack of flexibility in classroom instruction.
Finally, by managing our state and national budgets more responsibly and putting education at the top of our list of priorities we’ll be able to afford music, art, and physical education—programs that are integral to the healthy development of our children. Dollars spent on Education should be viewed as an investment in our future, not merely an expense to be cut.
OC Register: DeLong for Congress in 47th District
Long Beach councilman the better choice to represent the two-county district.
After carefully vetting both candidates, the Register’s Editorial Board endorses Gary DeLong, who … will be a voice against wasteful spending and reducing cumbersome regulations.
It’s a tight battle for the 47th Congressional District. The newly redrawn district, which encompasses Long Beach, in Los Angeles County, plus Garden Grove, Westminster and Cypress, is among the most competitive races for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrat Alan Lowenthal, a state senator from Long Beach, is matched against Republican Gary DeLong, a Long Beach councilman.
Former President Bill Clinton recently threw his support behind Mr. Lowenthal, demonstrating just how important the seat is in the machinations over which party controls the House. Mr. DeLong, a businessman with private sector experience, is currently serving his second term with the Long Beach City Council. As we’ve noted in a previous editorial, Mr. DeLong is a centrist Republican while Mr. Lowenthal, at least for the most part, has been a Democratic Party loyalist.
To his credit, Mr. Lowenthal opposed providing state bond funding for California’s bullet train aspirations, often derided as the “train to nowhere” by critics. “The money should have been spent where there was ridership,” Mr. Lowenthal told us. Unfortunately, the Legislature approved an $8 billion package intended to finance an initial segment of the train in the Central Valley.
Ultimately, however, we believe that Mr. Lowenthal will mostly be a party-line Democrat – as he has been in California’s Senate. Mr. DeLong, on the other hand, seems much more likely to provide a unique independent and conservative – or free-market – perspective, which is sorely needed in Congress.
The two candidates differ sharply on the issue of taxes and regulations – distinctions that we feel are especially important to voters during times of weak economic growth, as raising taxes and increasing cumbersome regulations makes growth more difficult.
“The No. 1 issue is the economy. You have to cut the costs of the federal government,” Mr. DeLong said. “I look at the direction of our country, and I’m very concerned about it. We’ll be the first Americans who will hand over the country worse than it was before.”
It’s worth noting that the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business advocacy organization, has endorsed Mr. DeLong.
“Gary DeLong, a city councilman with a proven record of balancing budgets, reducing waste and cutting spending, is exactly what small businesses need during these tough fiscal times,” said Lisa Goeas, NFIB vice president of politics. “Like so many of our members, DeLong believes Congress needs to eliminate burdensome regulations and reduce taxes to create a more stable small-business environment. He understands what small businesses need to succeed – responsible government that gives entrepreneurs opportunities to thrive and not more hurdles to overcome.”
After carefully vetting both candidates, the Register’s Editorial Board endorses Gary DeLong, who, we feel, will be a voice against wasteful spending and reducing cumbersome regulations.
Press-Telegram: Gary DeLong, Alan Lowenthal race in California’s 47th Congressional District tight despite Democratic plurality
By Eric Bradley Staff Writer
On its surface, the new 47th Congressional District seat seems Democrat- friendly.
Democrats outnumber Republicans by 11 percent, and the party’s standard bearer this year is state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, a 20-year Long Beach political presence whose career has led to elected offices for his ex-wife, son and former daughter- in-law.
Still, Lowenthal finds himself in an at- times bitterly-contested race with Republican Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong.
DeLong has beaten Lowenthal in fundraising this year as of Sept. 30, collecting $1.2 million to Lowenthal’s $854,281.
The Republican has also attracted the support of the GOP in Washington, who see in DeLong a socially moderate and fiscally conservative candidate who might play well in the southern Los Angeles County and western Orange County district.
DeLong, 52, is the owner of The RTP Group, a telecommunications consulting firm, and lives in the Park Estates neighborhood with his wife and has three daughters.
He supports gay marriage, is pro- choice and is against repealing President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, calling such an undertaking politically unrealistic. Economically, DeLong speaks of easing regulations to spur business growth, closing tax loopholes and not ruling out eventually raising taxes, if all other avenues to balance the federal budget have been exhausted.
Despite doubts expressed by the Lowenthal campaign, DeLong, who is endorsed by dozens of local politicians, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and others, insists he would be a moderate voice in Washington and resist pressures to vote with more conservative members of his party.
Lowenthal, 71, is at the end of a second state Senate term and previously was an assemblyman and a Long Beach council member. Before he was a politician, Lowenthal was a community organizer and Cal State Long Beach psychology professor.
He insists that the government can protect the environment while business thrives and has worked his entire political career to clean up the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Lowenthal has endorsed Obama’s agenda, including the Affordable Care Act and the American Jobs Act. He also supports upgrading the educational system by improving teacher evaluations and expanding the role of community colleges.
Among Lowenthal’s endorsers are the Sierra Club, the Long Beach Police and Firefighters associations, the California League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the California Small Business Association, former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill and various unions.
Every Orange County Mayor Weighing in on the 47th Endorses DeLong
|August 30, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT: Noel Fritsch
|Every 47th District Mayor Who Endorses in Orange County Endorses DeLongLong Beach–Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, Congressional candidate for California’s newly drawn 47th District, announces that he has received the endorsement of every 47th District Mayor in Orange County who made endorsements.“It is an honor to have earned the support of so many leaders in Orange County. Each sets a shining example of what it means to responsibly manage their towns’ budget.”
In addition to DeLong’s growing list of endorsements, Gary has been endorsed by Cypress Mayor Doug Bailey, Garden Grove Mayor Bill Dalton, Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, Stanton Mayor Carol Warren, and Westminster Mayor Margie Rice.
Gary has also recently received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, The National Federation of Independent Business, Congressman Ed Royce, and State Senator Tom Harman.
Gary DeLong has achieved bipartisan success year after year as a Long Beach elected official.A local small business owner in the telecommunications industry for nearly three decades, he turned around a company on the verge of bankruptcy by increasing revenues, reducing overhead, and focusing on the customer. Mr. DeLong is running to represent California’s newly drawn 47th Congressional District.
Nearly half of the 47th Congressional District lies in Orange County, including the communities of Cypress, Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster. Los Angeles County, including the communities of Avalon, Long Beach, Signal Hill and a portion of Lakewood, comprises the remainder of the new District.
The California Target Book’s analysis of the newly drawn district indicates Republicans held an edge of four percent, 52-48, in the 2010 Congressional elections.