This commentary gives a clear explanation of how Prop. 13 came about. Jim Shultz wrote it in 1997, 19 years after Prop. 13’s 1978 passage, and it seems worth reposting (with a few updates) today.
Jim Shultz is a former teacher of policy analysis and California politics at San Francisco State University and former staff with the California Legislature. He is the founder and executive director of the Democracy Center, an advocacy organization founded in San Francisco.
Updates are in [brackets].
Proposition 13 pop quiz:
Who among the following opposed Proposition 13 when it was voted on in June 1978?
Former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson (governor at the time this commentary was written)
The California Taxpayers Association
Southern Pacific Railroad
Bank of America
Former Republican Gov. George Deukmejian
Standard Oil of California
Southern California Edison
Several years ago, I sent an email to my aunt to defend public schools and my role as a public school teacher in the service of our children and our society. This is my story. This is that letter. Please share, and let’s fulfill the hope of public education and honor the wisdom of our teachers.
I know that you value me and have honored me before as an educator and teacher in a public school in California. I don’t want to have to respond to this email because I have a fieldtrip to finish planning for, grading to do, a counselor to send an email to, and some parents to call (not to mention lesson planning to finish). My school workday, which started at 7:00 a.m., just ended and most students have left, however, in many ways my day is only half-way over as I will be working on and off for the rest of the afternoon, evening and into the night.
I write to you because I cannot agree with the statement that “the educational system is broken.” I work within the confines of this system everyday, and I know its weaknesses and strengths, its disasters and its triumphs.