An article published by Time calls the Long Beach Unified School District one of the nation’s best school systems. The article, “California’s Budget Crisis: Is There a Way Out?,” is the last of a five-part series on the state’s budget meltdown. Time Writer Kevin O’Leary features Wilson Classical High School Class of 2009 graduate Teeda Sokoeun as an example of LBUSD’s success amid tremendous challenges:
“Dressed in a coral polo shirt and khaki shorts, Teeda Sokhoeun sits on a swivel chair next to a tiny couch in the two-bedroom apartment she shares with her mom and five siblings in a rough working-class neighborhood of Long Beach. The port city south of Los Angeles is a polyglot of Cambodians, Latinos, African Americans and Anglos. Incomes in this inner city neighborhood are low, violence sometimes high, but Long Beach boasts one of the best urban school districts in the nation and Sokhoeun is one of the stars. A 4.35 GPA honor student, Sokhoeun has been admitted to UC Irvine and has received a financial aid award of $13,000, which includes a Cal Grant of $3,500. The daughter of parents who fled the Khmer Rouge, she views education as ‘the social ladder to success and respect’ and is determined to be the first in her family to finish college.
“But to go to the University of California, Sokhoeun needs every penny of financial aid she can find,” the article continues. “And that aid is almost certain to be cut in the coming round of budget slashing. The Cal Grant program is on the chopping block as Gov. Schwarzenegger proposes the elimination of grants for incoming freshman and the gradual phasing out of the program. Now Sokhoeun and thousands of outstanding students — the human capital for California's future economic growth — stand to see their dreams dashed.
“Like states across the nation, California is suffering in the Great Recession. Jarring cuts to the state's K-12 schools, universities, children's healthcare, the infirm, the elderly, roads, infrastructure, cities, counties, libraries, police, fire and parks — nearly all the programs that government provides — are unavoidable. The big question: Will the budget knife slice California's middle class in a significant way, and, if so, how will those voters react to the pain?”