For those who don’t know, Christy Lozano is running for Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. Electing Christy on June 7 may be our last opportunity to save our schools, and more importantly our children, from an ignominious future.
I am not sure why more people in our county are not screaming at the top of their lungs about the hideous academic progress and outrageously bad reading and math test scores in our public schools. I have been railing about this embarrassing nonperformance of our schools for almost 20 years. It’s now the worst it has ever been after imprudently shutting down our schools for nearly a year and a half.
I have this bad habit of looking at student test scores and waiting for them to improve. The last time I looked, I saw that only 35 percent of students in Santa Maria were proficient in math and English. Sadly, just 28 percent and 36 percent of students met the basic standards for math in Lompoc and Santa Ynez, respectively. Before we get too cocky in South County, only 9 percent of students at McKinley Elementary School are passing math. Yes, you read that correctly. Cleveland, La Cumbre, Monroe, and Adelante schools were all less than 40 percent proficiency for math and/or English. The other schools in the district were only slightly better. The current County Superintendent of Schools must be content with the lousy performance of many of our schools, since her campaign makes the inexplicable claim that she is doing a good job.
You may ask how it is possible for one person to change this truly unacceptable situation, where we condemn so many of our children to a life of poverty because they lack the academic or vocational skills to live up to their potential. Christy, a longtime teacher in our schools and a person of uncommon good sense, knows this position has many statutory powers she can use to reform our schools. First, she has to approve the budgets of every district in the county. Second, she can withhold her approval if these schools don’t improve their performance. Third, she has the power to approve applications for charter schools if the present schools can’t cut it. Most importantly, she will command a budget that exceeds $100 million, a portion of which she can redirect to the classrooms, vocational education, and literacy, circumventing the onerous school bureaucracy.
Lastly, Christy is an outspoken critic of teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to young elementary school children without parental consent. Currently, teachers in Santa Barbara are given the curriculum materials for these topics in a password-protected portal. Christy wants parents to be in control of what their children are being exposed to, especially as related to such sensitive topics. For some reason, this has engendered a great deal of controversy with some people.
As someone who’s been involved in many political campaigns, I know a politically driven slick campaign message when I see one. Christy’s opponent is claiming you should not vote for Christy because she will be needlessly divisive. Anyone who knows Christy will tell you that is totally untrue. She is one of the most compassionate and caring people I know. She is also passionate about children and improving our schools, meaning she will not flinch if someone gets upset because they have an agenda other than student achievement. There is a word to distinguish this type of leadership. It’s called “courage”.
The obvious question is if it is possible to improve the performance of our schools, why hasn’t it already been done by the people in charge, like the current county superintendent? I suspect it is because it’s much easier to not make waves while quietly collecting an almost $300,000 salary as school superintendent. We need a superintendent who refuses to accept mediocrity, when our most important treasure, the lives of our children, is at stake. Christy Lozano, an Iraqi war veteran, possesses that courage and is willing to upend her life to take on this most important challenge. The least we can do is give her the chance.
Learn more about Christy at www.christylozano.com.