The teachers and administrators of the Lompoc Unified School District (LSUD) should be ashamed of themselves. Why? Because they have totally failed to educate the children and young adults who were entrusted to them by their parents.

The latest Standardized Test Results showed that 79 percent of the LUSD students could not meet Common Core statewide standards in math or English Language Arts (ELA) and Literacy.

This tragedy has been inflicted on our community by the fact that schools were closed for onsite learning in reaction to the COVID-19 illness response championed by the teachers unions.

Some politicians use the phrase “women, people of color and the poor are severely impacted” as justification for new social programs or redistribution of income. In this case, that phrase accurately describes the impacted population here.

Many of the students didn’t have access to the electronic media that substituted for in-classroom teaching, and/or their parents or siblings were unable to assist them with their lessons.

In other cases, parents weren’t available during class time because they were away at work. Or the kids simply didn’t pay attention after logging on, and teachers had no way of encouraging them to participate.

According to press reports the state Board of Education president thinks that more union employees such as “tutors, professional development for teachers, expanded learning time, and focusing on areas such as mental health and wellness” will fix it. I am surprised she didn’t include the need for pay raises as another solution.

The impact of the LUSD failure will resonate for decades as these students’ become adults and are thrust into the work-a-day world. By not being able to comprehend basic math and English skills they will be ill equipped to find well-paying jobs, to feed their families and many will simply become a burden on society.

For generations the public has been led to believe that public school systems were going to educate their kids; and for all those decades families have paid ever increasing taxes to fund those school systems. Considering these failing grades, I think we are paying for a defective product.

Instead of taking time to indoctrinate our children on the latest social trend, how about spending more time on teaching the basics? And why aren’t administrators and teachers held accountable when four-fifths of their students can’t meet state standards?

While teachers’ unions are focused on pay/benefit issues, the board of education trustees must sharpen their focus on the content and quality of education in the classroom.  Instead, the staff is rewarded with pay increases!

If the public education system were a commercial enterprise, it would have gone out of business because of customer dissatisfaction with their product and closed their doors.

If public school systems can’t do the job, and charter schools do much better, then it makes sense to allow parents to transfer their kids and have their tax dollars follow their child to a school that can produce better results

It’s past time for us to cease relying on public schools to do the job.  They have consistently failed to meet their responsibilities, and simply cannot be relied upon to produce a quality product. Instead of results, they only offer excuses.

The LUSD’s failing grade is a scandal impacting a generation of kids who deserved better.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry. He has been following Lompoc politics since 1992, and after serving for 23 years appointed to various Lompoc commissions, retired from public service. The opinions expressed are his own.