Platform 2010: Education
California's education system was once the envy of America. Our K-12 schools were among the best funded in the country and under the leadership of Governor Pat Brown, the California Master Plan for Higher Education made our community colleges, our California State Universities and our University of California institutional systems to emulate throughout the world. In recent years, our continual disinvestment from education threatens our ability to offer our youth the education they require to usher our state into the future. At the K-12 level California ranks 47th out of 50 states in educational funding and we are the only state in the nation to spend more on prison funding than higher education, despite a projected shortage of over one million college graduates by 2025.
California's students must have access to free, fully accessible and equitable world-class public education. Postsecondary education must be available and affordable to all interested students. Our preschool, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions must be well resourced and they must provide a well-rounded, balanced curriculum that includes music and the arts, which will prepare students for success in a globally interconnected world.
To help educate California's young leaders for the 21st century, Democrats will fight to:
- Provide an excellent and equitable education for all California's students, in which they have access to quality instruction in all content areas, including math, science, English, history, social studies, health, physical education, and foreign languages; are assessed through multiple means that are valid and reliable for all students; and have the resources they need to be prepared for postsecondary education, career technical education, and active citizenship in the 21st century; provide linguistically and culturally relevant educational opportunities so that our diverse students can draw upon their knowledge and experience as they acquire academic content knowledge and master essential skills;
- Ensure adequate preparation and affordable access to career technical education, community college, or university-level educational career retraining to enable all Californians to succeed in the global economy;
- Target reforms and resources to close the achievement gap, with specific emphasis on promising practices supporting English learners, students from generational poverty, and special populations;
- Support multiple measures in evaluating efficacy of administrators, teachers, schools, and districts;
- Support comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education designed to help stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases;
- Ensure that teachers are well compensated, have opportunities for professional growth, and will be able to work "! in safe learning environments in modern facilities with access to up to date curricular materials and technology for students;
- Ensure accountability measures for both traditional and charter schools are held to the same standards;
- Invest in per student funding at above the national average to provide for California's long-term economic viability and competitiveness in the 21st century; and
- Ensure that California's four-year-old children have universal preschool.