In the current eight-year update of the General Plan Housing Element (chapter) there is a deep dive into the condition of the city of Lompoc from an educational and economic standpoint.

The consulting team compared Lompoc to the remainder of the county and the results may surprise you.

Let’s start with a bit of history.

The California Department of Education states on its website that “in 2013, California has a new accountability system that is based on multiple measures. These measures are used to determine local educational agency (LEA) and school progress toward meeting the needs of their students. 

“The measures are based on factors that contribute to a quality education, including high school graduation rates, college/career readiness, student test scores, English learner (EL) progress, suspension rates, and parent engagement.”

Even in California, a state where educational success doesn’t seem to be measured by how well you do, but only whether you show up and fill a seat so school districts can get their state and federal funding, there are standards.

Whether or not these standards are set high enough to produce graduates who can comprehend or use the information they receive throughout their future lives is questionable.

The reason I can say that is because most community colleges must reeducate newly arrived students with “refresher courses” so they can grasp the higher standards required for advanced education.

Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) has a problem providing an adequate education for its students as demonstrated by the state’s objective measurement system.

The draft 2030 General Plan Housing Element update, page A-52 reports:

The “Lompoc Unified School District enrolls approximately 9,600 students throughout its 17 schools. Approximately 66% of enrolled students were low income and 15% were English learners. Figure A-28 shows TCAC (Tax Credit Allocation Committee) scores for education outcomes in Lompoc at the census tract level.”

They concluded that Lompoc had lower positive education scores throughout the entire city.

For students to assimilate into the workforce and society in general, they must at least be equipped to read and understand the English language and be proficient in math.

Training materials, specifications and company policies are written in English; few construction/industrial/manufacturing-based employers will hire someone who doesn’t have this basic skill.

Country singer John Conlee performed a hit called “Stuff That Works” several years ago; his premise was that we shouldn’t change anything that’s working well.

Back when I went to school the focus was on reading, writing (penmanship and composition) and mathematics. This was the stuff that worked to help me in life.

While in the military, and at every company I worked for after I completed military service, there were written procedures your were expected to understand. They also expected you to prepare written reports concerning your activities and the results of equipment testing.

According to a recent op-ed by Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann the LUSD “is prioritizing students’ social-emotional learning, with dedicated counselors in every school to enhance skills in self- and social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Wellness and Resource Centers are being established to provide vital support.”

There is no mention of improving math, English or reading skills.

Back when I went to school, teachers had a steep set of pass/fail rules, and if you couldn’t grasp what was being taught, it was up to you to work harder.

There were no school days when we didn’t have homework. My day started at 6 a.m. and, after a bus ride, ended at about 3:30 p.m. Then an hour or so of homework.

There was no room for whiners. My job as a kid was to successfully complete each class with a grade of “C” or better, and then seek greater challenges. Summer school to improve your grade point average was always available, and I attended during the summer.

The LUSD must work to solve the education problem. If the administration can’t figure out how to improve this metric, then the Board of Education, an elected group which per its website “set policies under which the District operates and adopt the budget,” needs to consider hiring an independent analyst to recommend methods to fix it.


GP update: 2023 HousingElement_HCDDraft_2023 05 10 RL.pdf

With its many community-driven initiatives, Lompoc is a beacon of hope for our youth.