By Will Swaim, President, California Policy Center
It’s been a rough few days for Californians. First, there was “California does little to ensure all kids read by third grade,” John Fensterwald’s magnificent appraisal of the dismal state of our union-run schools. You’ll want to read the entire piece — unless you’re a graduate of a California school, in which case, please see the picture book below. Here’s a summary of John’s story:
California fourth graders trail the nation in reading, and half of its third graders, including two-thirds of Black students and 61 percent of Latino students, do not read at grade level. Yet, California is not among the states — including Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia and New York City — that have adopted comprehensive literacy plans to ensure that all children can read by third grade. And California has not set a timeline or given any indication it intends to create such a plan.
Mississippi?! Florida?! Forty years of union domination of our public schools, and California — once a producer of the world’s best educated — is at the bottom of the class with an “F” for effort, though the governor tells us that’s “F” for “FABULOUS.”
It’s like that terrible dream where you open the door to your classroom and find all the other states are already there and laughing at you — and, yes, there’s a test and you’re not wearing pants. Your Southern California is completely showing.
Second, while they can’t read, our kids finally have access to the helpful “Genderbread Identity Man” picture books recommended for the state’s junior and high school students. (Please don’t ask how we know the Genderbread Identity Man is a “man.” Mom and dad just know things.)
California’s kids may not be able to read but they can now point to the place on the Genderbread Man where they’re feeling oddly compelled to act on one of 10 sexual orientations.
Third, California has also showed up sans-culottes in the nation’s news for this uncomfortable coincidence: state regulators said they’ll ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles beginning in 2035 even as other state regulators begged Californians not to charge the electric vehicles they’ve got now. This headline captures our shame: “Californians asked to keep AC at 78 and nix electric vehicle charges to spare grid.”
“Plan ahead now so you can stay cool and hydrated, especially if you have outdoor plans,” the National Weather Service warned Californians today. In a state with a government-engineered housing shortage, we’ll all soon have outdoor plans.
Schools that can’t teach. Electric cars that can’t charge. Builders who can’t build. Workers who can’t work. This is what utopia looks like.
Living here is increasingly like living with Stalin’s infamous 5-Year Plans: no matter how emphatic the regulatory commands from the top, no mere mortal — not even a California state lawmaker — can suspend the laws of the marketplace without catastrophe.