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A Commitment that Runs deep

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ADVISORY COUNCIL REFLECTS ON THE NEED TO SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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Much has changed about our state’s school system in the 100 years since the Masons of California first instituted a Public Schools Week. Sadly, much has not. We asked members of the fraternity’s Public Schools Advisory Committee why, a century later, public education remains such an important focus on the California Masonic Foundation.

“The politics and policies of public education may have changed over the past 100 years, but the priority of educating our youth has not. Education remains the great equalizer. I’m proud to be part of a fraternity that supports and builds a foundation of literacy in our communities.”

—WM Mark J. McNee
     Sons of the Desert No. 872 and Phoenix No. 144

“Today, with all the controversy and politics surrounding state funding, kids are left by the wayside. More than ever, it’s important for Masons to make a meaningful impact, especially for those who require the extra resources that only we can give.”

—PM Kirtley F. Wilson
     Vista No. 687 and Channel Islands No. 214

“Two primary challenges are facing our state’s public education system: the retention of teachers and the adequate funding of our schools. California falls 13 percent behind the national average in per-student funding. And in California, 50 percent of newly hired teachers resign before five years due to inadequate pay and benefits, working conditions, and lack of administrative support. California Masons need to work with local schools and districts to morally and physically support our schools and teachers.”

—Michael J. George
     San Diego Lodge No. 35

“The population of California has grown so fast teachers simply cannot keep up. Meanwhile, funding has diminished for many crucial school programs. Masons can help turn the tide by fostering partnerships like Raising A Reader that ensure kids can read and don’t get left behind. Success in anything presupposes the ability to read.”

—PM Calvin H. Gilbert
     Live Oak No. 61 and Oakland Durant Rockridge No. 188

“Children must learn to read in order to become critical thinkers and researchers. In this digital age, in which information can be shared in seconds, children need to learn to understand what’s credible and what isn’t. And that all starts with good reading habits.”

—PM Ronald G. Sais
      Lexington No. 104 and Round Table No. 876

More from this issue:

The Big Picture

Ten years later, the Masonic Center for Youth and Family has become a go-to resource for public-school students in need of expert assistance.

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