California spends more money on our prison system than we do on higher education. That is a travesty. We should be investing in our children’s future, not making it more difficult for them to reach their greatest potential. We must aggressively invest in early learning programs, our public school system, and make college tuition free for every Californian who wants to attend.
Pushing Back Against the Privatization of Public Schools
There is a huge push across the state to further privatize California’s education system. This is absolutely the wrong direction. We have seen what happened with the privatization of prisons. When profit is the motivating factor behind decisions, the community suffers. Privately managed charters should have no place in our public school system. Privately managed charters pick and choose which students they accept, they do not use union teachers, and they do not have to answer to the community. It would be one of my top priorities to take on privately managed charters that are unaccountable to local school districts.
Allowing individuals, groups, and business entities with profit motivations to continue segregating and diluting our public education system is not the answer that parents seek when they advocate for quality schools, access and opportunity. We must dedicate resources to fix our public schools, not create a separate (and often not equal) system of charter schools.
Closing the Funding Gap
We need to close the existing funding gap between school districts, and invest more in the schools that have been operating with far fewer resources for too long. We have a de facto private school system because school districts rely primarily on property tax revenue. Wealthy neighborhoods have more resources for schools than low-income neighborhoods. No matter where a child lives, they deserve access to a quality public school that has the resources to prepare them for college and a future career. As Governor, I will fight for an increase in funding for communities that have been historically under-resourced. Meritocracy cannot exist as long as systematic and institutional inequity persists.
Invest in Early Learning
Research has shown that one of the most cost-effective ways for students to get ahead is through Early Learning programs. Early Learning helps children prepare for school, and excel once they begin the first grade. Early Learning programs also give parents more flexibility when managing their workload and parental responsibilities. It will be especially helpful for families with single working parents who have to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
College for Every Californian
Not that long ago, Californians did not have to pay obscene amounts of money just so they could attend college. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that tuition, as we know it today, started increasing to become a primary funding source for the UC budget. We need to abolish tuition so that every Californian has the opportunity to attend college – whether that is a California State University, community college, or a UC.
Student Loan Forgiveness
College should help our children prepare for the future, not saddle them with mountains of student loan debt. Aside from making college tuition-free for all prospective students, I will also strengthen funding for current student loan forgiveness programs. I will also adamantly oppose the Trump Administration’s attacks on federal student loan forgiveness, including its attempts to revoke protections for students that have been misled by for-profit institutions.
Art & Music
Too often, art and music are the first programs to be cut from school budgets. Yet study after study shows that music and art stimulate and improve student performance. We need to ensure that rural communities and inner-city schools have the same access to the arts as wealthy suburbs.