July 30, 2020 | by Rev. Katie Goetz
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in The Daily Journal which is distributed throughout San Mateo County and Northern Santa Clara County and online at smdailyjournal.com.
One of the biggest dilemmas in our COVID-19 reality is whether or not to reopen schools. So many of us are dramatically impacted by this agonizing decision. However, this fall we have a decision to make that could prove to be even more monumental than reopening or not reopening.
I am passionate about education. I grew up in the California public school system. My teachers took the time to make sure I was growing in knowledge and learning to see the world in new ways. Now, as the parent of elementary school age children, I appreciate the unending dedication of my children’s teachers in the Redwood City Elementary School District. They teach students English, math and Chinese and empathy, social skills and global citizenship.
In addition to being a mother, I am a Christian minister. I love that one of the stories of my Christian faith involves Jesus, as a middle schooler, who got separated from his parents, and when eventually found, was hanging out with teachers, learning and growing. In San Mateo County, and throughout California, we have countless teachers who, like those teachers Jesus encountered, give their time and energy to students of all ages and stages, helping our children grow in wisdom and knowledge.
My children’s teachers, and my teachers decades ago, have done a herculean job even though hobbled by Proposition 13, which severely limits the property taxes we can collect in California. Over the past 40 years, this reduction in property taxes has primarily hurt large, diverse counties over whiter, more affluent counties. This disparity in the educational system affects nearly every area of our communal life. This November we have the opportunity to restore some of the balance to school funding and take steps toward racial justice in California by passing Proposition 15, known as “Schools and Communities First.”