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The bright side of budget cuts 

Locals can partner with the government to improve education, the environment, and life in general

For all of you who think Schwarzenegger's proposal of cutting funding for public schools and closing some state parks is the wrong idea, I ask you to pay attention to the window being opened instead of focusing on the door being closed.

It is about time that we, the people, joined together with our government in partnership instead of either looking to it to fix our problems or blaming it for our problems. Schwarzenegger is not telling Californians that they cannot have a park he is saying California does not need to keep paying for all of them. Schwarzenegger is not saying that kids do not need to be educated he is saying California is not going to pay for every detail of their education anymore. Now is the time for society to realize that we can create a better education for our children, create more community, and save our precious parks through working with the government.

I say stop working for a week's vacation at Disneyland for your kids and be with your kids more in the county you live in. Charter schools offer children a way of learning to socialize, educate, and be in their society that is far more positive than sticking them in a classroom for seven hours or more without much sunlight, activity, or family time. Have you not heard the teachers, parents, and kids scream about this "no child left behind" act? It's more like a "children will be turned off to learning for the rest of their life" act.

Remember when you were a child and how recess lasted forever? That has been replaced with drilling for tests, not to mention classrooms that are large and filled with kids who are competing with one another for grades, who has the most money, and who has the latest trendy outfit. Guns and drugs are entering schools as early as elementary. And now there's an obesity epidemic in children, and something called "nature deficiency disorder." Can you really see how public schools are not the best place for children? Parents have disappeared into a working environment and left a few people to teach the kids without the support of parents.

Family and the government can work together in charter schools like tuition-free Family Partnership in San Luis Obispo where kids can get the teachers and textbooks and even enrichment classes like a public school, yet have the environment of family involvement.

Kids and adults can participate in maintaining Monta"a de Oro and other nature preserves, and the California budget can be cut. Kids can get science credit for working in a park or high school. Kids can possibly get college credit for work they do. Obesity prevention, positive socialization, hands-on education, power to the people, and involvement in nature are just a few of the benefits of this plan.

Parents who opt to homeschool through a charter school may not get the pay for the week's vacation at Disneyland, yet the benefits of teaching children to learn about nature and that the world is their learning ground are awe-inspiring. You do not have to be a certified teacher to homeschool, but through a charter school you can get a certified teacher to help guide you and your child to where you want to go and what the state says you need to do for college.

It is time for our kids to get our attention and change the way we live in our world.

Public school has some positive answers, yes. Yet the benefits of hugging your children when they get a problem solved or going to the beach for recess for two hours instead of 20 minutes outside during a seven-hour day are pretty amazing. To be able to be by your child doing something positive, like planting a tree at Monta"a de Oro instead of reading a paragraph in a room filled with 20 people who can barely interact without having disciplinary action, is pretty amazing. Seeing your kids socialize wherever you go and being a part of positive, parent-created play dates is pretty amazing. Adults taking time to hear their kids instead of having a government search for money to support a meth program, is pretty amazing.

It's not the government's responsibility to teach your children, make them good citizens, or to keep the parks open. It's your job. It's our job. It's our responsibility to be thankful to be a U.S. citizen and a California resident and work with the money, the organization, and the people to find a balance with work, family, and education.

INFOBOX: It's not the government's responsibility to teach your children, make them good citizens, or to keep the parks open. It's your job. It's our job.

Send comments to Gina Carmen Turley via the executive editor at

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