On Tuesday, the voters of California made an emphatic statement about the value of public education with the passage of Proposition 30. This is the first time in my memory that voters approved a statewide tax measure. Given the troubled state of our economy, the fact that there was a competing measure on the ballot and the well-funded efforts to defeat the measure, this truly was a remarkable event.
Of greatest importance is the trust demonstrated by voters. It is imperative that those of us in education reward this trust by providing the highest quality education possible for our state's students.
The critical work of producing tomorrow's work force, citizens and leaders must remain our highest focus. Our state's and our nation's economic future depends upon it, as does the economic future of our children. We must prove to the electorate that their trust was not misplaced.
We must make the most of every instructional day, hour and minute, because every educational moment is precious.
We must meet the needs of every student, because every student will ultimately either contribute to or detract from our society.
We must hold ourselves accountable, even when we believe there is no one watching. This includes accurate and reflective evaluations and effectively managing those few who are not producing.
We must act at all times like we are responsibly spending our own dollars, because we cannot afford to leave the impression that we are careless with the taxpayers' dollars.
We must carry out these imperatives well. In the end, we must prove to the politicians and the public that we will be outstanding stewards of the money and trust they place with us. I believe these actions are the path to earning the funding that our students so desperately and rightfully deserve, and that the voters generously made possible Nov. 6.
Perhaps November 2012 will mark a turning point for education in the Golden State. Perhaps we will look back years from now and point to this unlikely event as the spark that revitalized our economy and made us proud, once again, to call ourselves Californians.
In the meantime, our students are looking to us to help them realize their dreams and their potential and become contributing members of our society and we have important work to do.
Siegel is superintendent of the Ceres Unified School District.