Letter to the Editor from State Assembly Candidate Tony Rodriguez

I am running for State Assembly in the 44th District. Although the election results are not yet certified, it appears that I am advancing to the general election as one of the top two candidates from the March Primary.

Nick Schultz seems, by all accounts, to be a very intelligent and well-spoken man. However, I noticed from his work on the Burbank City Council that he tends to go with the herd. While he has the title of mayor, I remind voters he was not elected mayor by the voters; the mayor in Burbank is merely a title that the council members give to one of their own, and Burbank has no elected mayors. I never want to attack anyone; however, Mr. Schultz is very young and has some living to do. He has infants at home, and I am a grandfather. I have been a leader in the military and have lived a full life here in California. I have hard-won scars and Mr. Schultz is a man barely in his 30’s. Age is not an indicator of wisdom, but genius is merely experience in disguise and I have the experience required to do the job for you.

One of the top concerns people bring to me when I discuss how I can be impactful in the State Assembly is that of education. Our education system in California was once among the finest in the country, and it is now in a sorry state of chaos.

Schools are trying to accomplish too many things and are taking on the role of parenting, putting essential education in the back seat. Make no mistake about it, California’s children are super smart. They have unlimited knowledge at their disposal with the internet, but when California’s students graduate from high school, they are not prepared for life, for higher education, nor even for a job. Graduates are eager to work but lack the practical skills and basic education needed to win out in the world.

Under Prop 98, K-14 education is guaranteed 40% of California General Fund revenues, but due to our Robin Hood system, a complex formula robs our students of funding in favor of giving more funding to English learners, foster children, and special needs students. Sadly, this also means districts are gaming the system to focus more on the students who bring them the additional funding, and the students without these special circumstances are not as financially valuable to the districts. We also have administrative salaries in school districts that exceed that of the California governor, and that is not equitable fair or acceptable. Reform is needed.

The truth is, much time is also being spent on impractical skills. For example, experts are predicting that AI will eliminate the need for programmers entirely within the next five to ten years. Schools spend a lot of time explaining to children how they are not alike instead of helping build bridges. There’s a lot of division, and I have noticed that instead of focusing on how to educate children, there is this constant state of crises that schools seem to want to address. Children need to have fun and enjoy their school years. This will foster better mental health and improve educational outcomes. We also need to address the high cost of education and realize that AI and other technologies will be a big part of education moving forward. You need only look at the success of companies like LinkedIn Learning and Udemy to understand how adults prefer to learn. Taxpayer-funded adult schools are teaching yoga and pilates, and we simply cannot afford to keep doing things the old way just because.

As your representative, my commitment is to advocate for policies that address these issues head-on. I believe in a system that values and upholds the importance of education, one that recognizes the potential in every student and provides them with the opportunities to achieve it while looking at ways to reduce costs.

I have always held that education begins in the home, where it is the parent’s right and responsibility. Both private and public schools are there to help with the instruction of your child, but for too many years now, California bureaucrats in education acted like the parent was an annoyance, and we have seen what that attitude has brought to many of our children. We need better and deserve it. Well-meaning and misguided people need a course correction. Nick Schultz is a young man with children who have not yet started in grade school. I am sure that in time he will gain the life experience needed to know more than he knows today; however, I have substantially more experience in life, and I will serve you better in the State Assembly. I am ready, he is not there yet.

Improving our education system is not just about securing our children’s future; it’s about securing the future of our state and our nation. We owe it to our children to give them the best possible start in life, and that begins with ensuring they receive an education that is second to none. This does not mean taxing people to death; we pay enough taxes. What we need to do is get education back to essentials, reduce the bureaucracy, and encourage school districts to shift more money from district office salaries to the teachers. How many assistant superintendents does a school district need? Light will cleanse away the problems and I will bring a lot of light to help you see the problems.

I bring to this race a lifetime of leadership and experience, both in the military and as a community leader. I understand the importance of service, commitment, and hard work. These values have guided me throughout my life and will continue to guide me as I seek to serve you in the State Assembly.

Tony Rodriguez
Candidate for California State Assembly, District 44

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