Having spent a recent weekend at Morro Bay, Calif. with my son’s teachers from John Adams Middle School on a science camp weekend, I learned the following:
• The docents at the elephant-seal viewing beach were shocked to hear of a public school organizing this kind of extracurricular event.
• The dedicated teachers that put this and other similar events together got nothing for their extraordinary efforts.
• Spending hours a day with my middle school son and a few of his buddies is exhausting and challenging.
I cannot imagine what it is like trying to keep the attention of middle-school students, draft lesson plans and actually teach them something every day, while coping with all of the real-world distractions that can derail a kid’s future in a matter of seconds. I know that I could not do it and I bet most people could not do it either. We are so lucky to have the caliber of teachers working with our kids that we have in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. So to my kid’s teachers, I just want to say thank you!
We are one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, so when it comes to investing — and that is what it is, an investment, not an expense — in our children’s education this is a no-brainer. The counterargument is like a farmer saying he does not want to spend money on planting crops next year. I don’t have time to listen to the self-centered and short-sighted rationalizations of a few people that want government services but do not want to pay for them. Even if you don’t have children in school, compared to the alternative, we all benefit if our state’s children are educated, productive members of our society. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society.” We are all so lucky to live in this civilized society and that is why I am voting yes on Props. 30 and 38!

Joel C. Koury
Santa Monica

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