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::: Children & Education :::

Lucille Mozena
Steve Mozena

Dear Neighbor:

Since my daughter will soon be entering the public school system in Carson, I have a strong desire to help to make our schools the best they can be. 

I believe strongly in the importance of education.

It's the way out of poverty. 

My dream is that everyone should be able to obtain a college education. 


Lucille Mozena


Dear Fellow Carsonite:

Do your children have all the school supplies, pens, pencils, book bags, and computers they need in Carson's schools?

Are you satisfied with their education so far?

Are you and your children getting all you deserve from our education system?

Recently, I asked a group of Californians, old and young, and from different ethnicities, who was the first President of the United States. Many of them didn't know, even though they had all spent many dollar bills with Washington's face on it.

By just this one example, I know they're not getting what they need from the school system.

Here in Carson, test scores lag behind the state average, by 6.8 percent for reading and 15.9 percent for math.

No child left behind? It's about time we said it as if we really meant it, and then acted on our words.

Everyone should know the value of education. My father, who was an immigrant, instilled in his eight children the importance of education in getting ahead and achieving things in life. From grade school through high school, he was a straight "A" student who knew that education represented a way to escape poverty and realize the American Dream.

He worked extremely hard to send all his children to private schools from grade school to high school.

He also emphasized the importance of a college degree and professional training. As a result of his inspiration many of my siblings not only have college degrees but they also have graduate degrees: two of my brothers became physicians, one brother a lawyer, a sister became a psychologist, and, finally, one brother has a Master's degree in Education.

If I were a Carson Councilmember, Secretary of Education for California or even the U.S. Secretary of Education, inspired by my father's value of education, I would make the following changes in our educational system, from elementary to college.

My Vision For Education

Elementary to High School

I am concerned about the lamentable state of education in California and the nation today. My response to the 2006 California school summer reading program is that something far more substantial is needed to fix an educational system that is turning out functional illiterates rather than young people who have the knowledge and the skills to successfully deal with life's many challenges.

My solution to California's educational woes is twofold. First, the school day must be extended to 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This will not only allow a more thorough learning schedule, it will also reduce the stress on parents and enable them both to hold down full-time jobs. In today's economic environment, in which it is common for both parents, or a single parent, to work in order to support the children, the longer day for kids would be extremely helpful.

Second, the school year must be extended. The 180 days kids spend in school is not enough. Research has shown that during the long summer break they regress, which means they forget the knowledge and skills that they learned. Schooling should be year round.

The introduction of mandatory all-year schooling would address the problem of regression, as well as cultivating life skills. It would also reduce gang activity, some of which arises from boredom, and other vacation mischief. We need structure in our schools.

These are the main lines of my proposal:

participation in team sports, right through to the senior year, should be mandatory. Team sports build social skills and the ability to be a team player in other contexts.

participation in academic clubs like speech, chemistry or drama would be a must, since these also develop teamwork.

a foreign language and culture class to begin in primary school, that teaches Chinese and another language that is new to the student. In other words, if the family speaks Spanish, the kids must learn a language other than Spanish, in addition to English.

a business class in which students learn how to write checks and manage their accounts, including how to manage a credit card. They should be taught financial responsibility and financial honesty, and why maintaining a positive credit rating is necessary for purchasing a car and eventually a home. In addition, the class should include the skills learned in the business program Junior Achievement.
there should also be a life-skills program. This should instruct boys and girls in the fundamentals of good hygiene, good manners, cooking, and home economics. This would also teach the principles of sound nutrition, which would be a step towards combating the growing obesity among the young.

since many students do not know how to study, there would be a mandatory class in study skills. Students need to learn the self-discipline that leads to success in life.

a mandatory outdoor environmental education course, in which students learn about such topics as animals, water, plants, and soil. This would include many of the topics usually covered at summer camps. Not all parents can afford to send their children to camp, but under my proposal, all children would have the same opportunities.

starting as early as nursery school and continuing through 12th grade, there should be physical education courses, including swimming classes from beginner to lifesaver. This will reduce the number of child deaths by drowning. Athletics, gymnastics and other forms of exercise should also be offered, to promote health and reduce obesity.

more emphasis on online learning, making sure there is no digital divide. All children should have computers, and the best and brightest teachers in the state at all grade levels should teach online courses. This would create more equal educational opportunity, enabling students in impoverished school districts to have access to the best minds in the state. It would also cultivate the kids' ability to work independently

mandatory civics or political science class in which students would learn about our political system as well as those of other nations. It would emphasize the necessity of participating in the processes of democracy. This could be done by holding mock elections that would mirror elections taking place at state and federal level. This would educate students in the vital political issues of the day. For California students, this class would include instruction about the California constitution, including knowledge about how ballot initiatives are created and an evaluation of the achievements of recent ballot initiatives.

the state should maintain a 24-hour study help web site.
there should be a yearly comprehensive exam before students are allowed to pass to the next grade level.

an overall review of the pay and benefits packages for teachers, and regular reviews of teacher performance. Teachers should not be underpaid, but they should not be allowed to continue in their jobs if they are performing badly. Incompetent teachers are harmful to the development of our children. Like adults, children would be permitted to request a week or two weeks off during the calendar year for vacation, if a parent wished. Additionally, the teachers could have their two-week vacations or whatever they wished, and a substitute who was competent in the field would take their place.

Finally, the State's education website should show all its daily expenditures and revenues, broken down to each school and grade levels. This would create fiscal transparency and honesty in government spending on education. I would also like to see the California Lottery, which allocates considerable funds to education, post its finances to the Web. See <http://www.postthefinances.com>www.postthefinances.com

I hope Californian, as well as all American, educational leaders will support this proposal, which will raise educational standards in California as well as in the United States as a whole, and produce better citizens. California could also act as a model for adoption by other states.

For Colleges

For college level education, I believe that the era of brick and mortar colleges is coming to an end. We need to promote intellectually healthy and independent adults rather than prolong childhood by shackling students to a brick and mortar college. In the future, education will be largely conducted online. It is only a matter of time before electronic books entirely replace traditional books. The traditional library, with thousands of shelves of books taking up large amounts of space and needing large funds to maintain, will be a thing of the past. Traditional lecture theaters will be replaced; all computers will be equipped with cameras so professors and students can directly interact no matter where they are.

There is an argument that the visceral learning experience is better to learning online. But so much of what goes on in our colleges is highly impersonal. When classes consist of more than 50 students, and rise to as many as 500 students at many state schools, most students don't even speak directly to their professors, either inside or outside of class. Most likely, they are being graded by teaching assistants. Most professors loathe large classes and would agree that a student gets maximum benefit in a class size of 15 to 20 students. This is part of my rationale for proposing that the collegiate system, at least for undergraduates, becomes an entirely online experience. It would vastly benefit the student.

While this transition to the electronic information age is going on, I would like to see the following specific ideas incorporated in college education:

It is essential that colleges should not have to offer remedial courses to make up for an inferior and inadequate education that their students have received in grade school and high school. All college freshmen should be ready to tackle college-level work.

All college students should register to vote at the same time as they enroll in classes in their freshman year. Registration should be strongly encouraged, as it will help to reverse the steady decline in the percentage of the electorate that bothers to vote.

There should also be a mandatory class on the fundamentals of democracy and the U.S. political system. Students should be educated about their civic responsibilities in a democracy. If we don't learn to perpetuate our way of life, it will wither away and die. We must stay united.

In terms of administration, universities and colleges should opt out of the student housing, apparel, merchandise and food business. These should be operated by private businesses in university districts. Most university districts have died, killing off small mom and pop businesses, because the colleges have relentlessly pursued a vertically integrated monopoly of businesses catering to the students on campus. In doing so, they have lost, in my opinion, the sole purpose and focus of the academic institution, which is to teach our children. Again, I believe strongly that the purpose of a college education is to provide an education, not the superfluous amenities many state colleges now provide.

I also believe that a centralized collegiate online bookstore system should be set up for states nationwide. In the case of California, because of its size, I would set up two distribution centers for southern and northern California which would distribute books both electronically and/or by mailing them directly to students statewide.
Finally, the State's education website should show all its daily expenditures and revenues, broken down to each college and each department. This would create fiscal transparency and honesty in government spending on education. I would also like to see the California Lottery, which allocates considerable funds to education, and other State lotteries, post their finances to the Web. See www.postthefinances.com

Perhaps if all these changes were implemented within the next few years, we would not have to read any more reports about how our children are lagging behind those of other developed countries in math, science, writing and reading skills.

Let's stop the slide now and recover our educational standards before it is too late.

Vote for the Mozenas. If the Mozenas win, Carson's children win.


Steve Mozena


As founder, CEO, and publisher of ETEXT.net Electronic Textbook Publishing, an online academic publishing firm, www.etext.net, Mr. Mozena is a pioneer in the field of technology and the Internet, providing low-cost textbooks for professors and students. Mr. Mozena also wants to establish a program for all ages entitled "Readers are Leaders," to encourage the habit of reading and correlate it with success and influence in life.