Dave Winer on Silicon Valley, and a Rant on California Education Funding

Dave Winer notes that Silicon Valley isn’t what it used to be. [here]
Now, with Yahoo getting its mojo back [here and here], and a few other happenings in the Valley, there are some signs of life.
But there is still a lot of vacant real-estate. The office buildings that housed Webvan are still vacant after 3 years, and they have a great view of the Bay and the San Mateo bridge. There is still a vacuum there.
I can’t speak of the lap dogs, as I am a mere prole.
However, I do disagree with the comment Dave W. makes about schools. If he is referring to Colleges and Universities, ok, I agree. But the public school system in the Bay area, and in California in general, is one of the reasons why I was not too upset to move to Massachusetts.
My kids were going into the highly underfunded, if not malnourished and dying, system of non-education in California that resulted from one of the greatest breeders of inequity in the modern world — Proposition 13.
I love this statement from Warren Buffett:

Buffett cited the inequity of property taxes he pays on his homes in Omaha, Neb., and Laguna Beach, Calif., and said the California cap on property taxes imposed by Prop. 13 “makes no sense.”
His $500,000 house in Omaha has a tax bill of $14,401. His $4 million house in Laguna Beach has a tax bill of $2,264. The taxes on his Omaha home increased $1,920 this year, compared with $23 on the Laguna Beach home, he said.

Complain about the other taxes; then remember that your kids are going to schools that are 40th in the US by funding.
I miss the great garden we had. But my kids are learning more by not being in California Public Schools.


Heard this on NPR on the way home tonight. very relevant to this discussion.

7 Replies to “Dave Winer on Silicon Valley, and a Rant on California Education Funding”

  1. Have to agree 100%. I live in SoCal, and the schools are a disaster. The funding isn’t the issue, IMO, rather it’s the size of the school bureaucracy that is needed to sustain everything from regional to state to federal education mandates. Our local K-12 school is 50% administration. Cut out the overhead and you could cut funding *and* get better education out of it.
    And higher-ed in the state is ok only because there’s a lag between when the money goes away and when the public sees it. I work at a UC and things aren’t good. Same problems – too much administration. The premier public institution of the state now gets less than 25% of it’s funding from the state. It’d be more accurate to call the UC a private education contractor to the state. That’s not helping the education improve, because money doesn’t flow in for teaching.
    My kids learn more at home than at school. That’s fine in my book, but a little more help would be appreciated.
    And Prop 13 has to be the nations most f’d up piece of legislation and should be the poster child against voter legislation. It’s sufficiently well crafted that I can’t imagine it ever being repealed, and the legislators and governor are powerless against it.
    The tax bill on our $700K home is about what Warren pays on his $4M home because Warren probably paid $450K for it when he bought it, same as us. The result is that few people here can afford to buy their first home given a starting price of about $500K, so the renters get reamed while the homeowners rake it in. The homeowners keep ramping up property values because they aren’t being bled out by taxes, so they can keep buying up and up, further segregating the market. We were fortunate to work our way on the money train when we did.

  2. We bought a home in Marin County 2 years ago (assesed value went from about 86K to 608K when property changed hands!). I agree with the comments above. Except that I think ‘No Child Left Behind’ throws a big nation-wide wrench into education where funding is tied to test scores. Our local school district is all about the test scores. My daughter is in Kindergarten and ‘hates homework’ already. And so I think that prop 13 is bad but I consider ‘No Child Left Behind’ to be the ‘nation’s most f’d up piece of legislation’.

  3. And higher-ed in the state is ok only because there’s a lag between when the money goes away and when the public sees it. I work at a UC and things aren’t good. Same problems – too much administration. The premier public institution of the state now gets less than 25% of it’s funding from the state. It’d be more accurate to call the UC a private education contractor to the state. That’s not helping the education improve, because money doesn’t flow in for teaching. My kids learn more at home than at school. That’s fine in my book, but a little more help would be appreciated.And Prop 13 has to be the nations most f’d up piece of legislation and should be the poster child against voter legislation. It’s sufficiently well crafted that I can’t imagine it ever being repealed, and the legislators and governor are powerless against it. The tax bill on our $700K home is about what Warren pays on his $4M home because Warren probably paid $450K for it when he bought it, same as us. The result is that few people here can afford to buy their first home given a starting price of about $500K, so the renters get reamed while the homeowners rake it in. The homeowners keep ramping up property values because they aren’t being bled out by taxes, so they can keep buying up and up, further segregating the market. We were fortunate to work our way on the money train when we did.

  4. We bought a home in Marin County 2 years ago (assesed value went from about 86K to 608K when property changed hands!). I agree with the comments above. Except that I think ‘No Child Left Behind’ throws a big nation-wide wrench into education where funding is tied to test scores. Our local school district is all about the test scores. My daughter is in Kindergarten and ‘hates homework’ already. And so I think that prop 13 is bad but I consider ‘No Child Left Behind’ to be the ‘nation’s most f’d up piece of legislation’.

  5. Tax and schools: the Proposition 13 wayCiting the inequity of the property taxes he pays on his homes in Omaha, Neb., and Laguna Beach, Buffett said the California cap on property taxes imposed by Prop. 13 “makes no sense.”
    Prop. 13 passed 25 years ago with 65 percent of the vote, and …

  6. Tax and schools: the Proposition 13 wayCiting the inequity of the property taxes he pays on his homes in Omaha, Neb., and Laguna Beach, Buffett said the California cap on property taxes imposed by Prop. 13 “makes no sense.”Prop. 13 passed 25 years ago with 65 percent of the vote, and …

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