My Life’s Work and Passion

Army-Ed Space, September 17, 2009

Dr. Lance Izumi
President, California Community Colleges Board of Governors
September, 17th 2009

Education is my life’s work and passion. I’ve spent 20 years in the field – though a lawyer by training, I became fascinated with education issues while serving as a speechwriter for former California governor George Deukmejian. I am currently serving my second term as President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, which is responsible for managing 110 community colleges in California – the Nation’s largest system of higher education. I am also the Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. I’ve been honored to speak about education issues at statewide and national forums and have worked with the California Legislature’s Joint Committee to develop a master plan for education.

My father was the first person to go to college in his family – his example really inspired me to pursue college and graduate school. My parents instilled the importance of education in me from a very early age. Children need similar advocates to motivate them to succeed in every facet of life, especially in academics. Parents, teachers, coaches and essentially every conscientious individual should invest in children’s education, for their future is our world’s future.

I have always been a friend of the military – I spent five years in the California State Military Reserve (part of the state’s National Guard) as a public affairs officer. Today I proudly support several Army Battalions up and down the state of California from a grassroots level.

The Army is a great partner for the education community. It offers many relevant tools and materials for educators, which are widely available online. The Army provides excellent opportunities and resources for students to improve academically. The Armed Services Vocational Battery (ASVAB) test is a fantastic resource for students to see the multitude of career options available to them. The ASVAB test allows students to clearly understand and further explore their strengths.

The March2Sucess website ( is another great tool for students, parents and teachers to SAT and ACT test preparation. As illustrated by these college entrance exams, it is truly necessary for children to have a strong grasp on the two basic subjects – English and mathematics. These subjects lay the groundwork for success in any professional track. Properly testing children along the way will ensure they are on the right track and enable them to see how they can improve.

In addition to equipping our kids with the tools to learn and succeed, they also need the means. Whether by serving in ROTC or by taking advantage of the GI Bill, the many education-related monetary benefits offered through Army service ease the financial burden of higher education, which is most relevant in these times.

I have seen firsthand that the best way kids become motivated is by ensuring success at an early age – nothing breeds motivation like success! College will be the natural progression if we help our children to meet their educational goals early on in life. By taking full advantage of all tools at our disposal we can help ensure that they are fully equipped to go on and achieve great things in whichever field they eventually choose to pursue.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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