April 30th, 2004

WATCH: First To Worst




First to Worst explores the roots of California’s current education crisis, tracing it to the anti-tax movement of the 1970’s and 80’s and to civil rights lawsuits that aimed to equalize school spending but resulted instead in disastrous funding limits on schools. “We really wrote off adequacy and embraced equalized mediocrity,” says Michael Kirst of Stanford University.

First to Worst pays special attention to Proposition 13, the 1978 anti-tax law (still in effect) that froze property taxes on businesses and homes and, critics say, cut funding for public schools off at the knees. “We’re always on a survival level,” Harriet McLean, a principal in Contra Costa, explains in FIRST TO WORST. “We’re understaffed, we’re over-crowded, and our roof leaks.” McLean takes viewers on a tour of her school, which is typical of appalling conditions found in many schools throughout the state.

You can watch the documentary above; you can buy the full DVD below.

Buy The DVD

Transcript (PDF)


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[...] Matters, has produced some of the most important and influential reports in education.  First to Worst, which aired seven years ago this month, presented a dramatic indictment of how Proposition 13, [...]

[...] Matters, has produced some of the most important and influential reports in education.  First to Worst, which aired seven years ago this month, presented a dramatic indictment of how Proposition 13, [...]

[...] deterioration of educational quality similar to California, which was the subject of a documentary From First to Worst.   I remain optimistic, however, and firmly believe that both our local community and the public [...]

[...] First to Worst The Merrow Report. In the 50′s and 60′s California had the best school system in the country. Now it is one of the worst. What happened in the past 40 years to lead to the decline and what is being done to help it improve. [...]




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