Comstock's magazine 0818-August 2018 - Page 33

CH AMBER VIEW Advocating For Business in Our Capital Region sionately believe in it, don’t start a charter. It’s a lot of work, and especially now. It’s very political and so you really have to believe in what you’re doing and be very passionate about it. Virtual learning is becoming a powerful tool in education. What are the benefits and challenges of online classes? While you can build a certain level of relationships online, you really need face-to-face human interaction in order to have that relationship building. At the same time, if yo u choose to only do things in the traditional way … with the teacher at the front of the room and the students in the desks — even though that’s face to face, I don’t know that it’s building relationships either. This upcoming generation of students are used to being on- line. They’re used to being constantly connected. We educators cannot ignore that. So how do you balance that developing of human connection while utilizing some of these tools students are used to operating within? That’s one of the big challenges in educating the current generation of students. How do you attract quality teachers in California, and how do you keep them here? It’s not just about putting more money into public education — it’s what do we do with that money. Let’s say teachers work 180 student attendance days. Most teachers’ contracts are 185 days, five more than students are actually attending. That’s not a regular work year; it’s actually only maybe a quarter of a work year. If you look at a teachers’ daily rate, it’s actually not too bad. But ... it’s like they are seasonal workers. That’s why salaries are so low. I think California needs to extend teacher work years. Because there’s such an achievement gap, students need to come to school during the summers. We need to have more intercession workshops. There is definitely work for teachers to do, but we’re still based on the whole agri- cultural system where you don’t start until after the harvest. So what we need to do is take a look at the larger system, and how we fund it and how the people within that system are working. n Rich Ehisen is the managing editor of State Net Capitol Journal. His work has appeared in Sunset, San Francisco Magazine, California Journal, Sacramento Magazine and the Lexis Legal Network. On Twitter @WordsmithRich. Regional growth, prosperity and inclusion are essential to meeting the needs of our business community. The Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce utilizes advocacy at the local, state and federal level as a means to amplify the voice of business in our region and maximize the impact. Earlier this month our Flood Protection Policy Team helped secure a big win when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced $1.8 billion in funding for flood protection projects in the Capital Region. This funding has been a top priority for our federal advocacy teams at Capitol-to- Capitol over the past several years, and in 2018 they were able to make that final impact. The funding included authorized work for the American River Common Features project, which addresses deficiencies along the Sacramento River east levee south of the American River and the north area streams levees, as well as the potential for erosion along the American and Sacramento Rivers. In addition, funding will raise the Folsom Dam by 3.5 feet, in order to increase the ability to manage storms larger than a 200-year event and improve the robustness and reliability of managing less than 200-year storm events. These projects will have a significant impact on reducing flood risk in our region, and the amount of funding we’ve received is unlike anything we’ve seen. Flood Protection Policy Team Captain Eric Nagy summed it up best when he described the new funding as “once-in-a-generation.” Securing such a large amount of funding takes a tremendous amount of coordination and collaboration with our regional partners, congressional representatives, and federal agencies, but is well worth it when we can deliver a win as big as this for the Capital Region. Advocacy wins such as this demonstrate how collectively the business community can impact decisions at local, state and federal levels to affect change and growth for our entire community. Chris Smith Are charter schools an asset or detriment to strong public education? DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS METRO CHAMBER TWEET US @COMSTOCKSMAG. Join Us (916) 552- 6 800 www.metrochamber.org August 2018 | comstocksmag.com 33