The Coastal Post - November, 1999

League Of Women Voters Says No On 8

The league of Women Voters is opposed to Proposition 8 on the November ballot. We believe that the measure is really about six ballot measures in one, ignoring the state constitution's single subject requirement for initiatives.

Proposition 8 would add a new, unnecessary, and costly layer of bureaucracy-the Office of Chief Inspector of Public Schools-on top of the State Board of Education, the Secretary of Education and Child Development, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges certification process. The appointed inspector would serve for ten years without legislative approval or oversight.

When over ten percent of California teachers have emergency credentials because of a severe teacher shortage, here and across the country, Proposition 8 would make such credentials illegal, thus adding to the shortage without addressing it.

Most alarmingly, Proposition 8 would require nearly all of the state's 8,000 schools to establish school site councils, composed of two-thirds parents and one-third teachers, which would control each school's curriculum and budget. The provision would toss out the new, carefully developed, more rigorous subject matter standards just adopted by the state, and would dramatically weaken the authority of elected school boards. Each school in a district could have a different curriculum, and if a site council wanted to insert its private agenda into the curriculum, the school board could not overrule it.

The powers of the school site councils would also seriously diminish the power of the 60-80 percent of the state's voters who do not have children in schools but who pay school taxes and vote in school board elections. They would lose all influence over the schools they pay for.

Finally, in a breathtaking display of disdain for our representative form of democracy, Proposition 8 states that the measure could only be amended by a vote of 80 percent of both houses plus the governor's signature.

Proposition 8 should be soundly rejected by the voters on November 3.

Donna Bjorn

President of the League of Women Voters of Marin County

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