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We believe in a universally well-educated population.  To achieve this, California students must have access to world-class pre-K – 12 public education that will prepare them to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual, and highly connected world. We must prepare our students for postsecondary education, career technical education, and active citizenship in the 21st century.  We must fully fund public education to correct years of insufficient allocations, increase funding to put California in the top states in per student spending, and equitably distribute funding to school districts most in need.

To help educate California’s young leaders and to prepare them to compete for challenging jobs, California Democrats will:

Pre-K – 12

  • Work to ensure that all four-year-old children in California have access to a high-quality preschool as an integral part of the public education system;
  • Encourage stronger coordination between early learning programs and K-12 schools;
  • Advocate for supplemental services for children such as high-quality, affordable childcare; preschool and early development centers; and, community-based afterschool programs;
  • Strive for full proficiency in English language arts and mathematics especially for historically low performing demographic subgroups such as socioeconomically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, foster youth, English language learners, and historically underperforming groups;
  • Provide instruction in social studies, sciences, literature, art, music, foreign languages, civics, health, and physical education;
  • Ensure that schoolchildren have current textbooks, including history books that are inclusive and historically accurate and science books that fully reflect the strong scientific consensus on issues of science, such as climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang theory;
  • Work to ensure that all graduating high school students are climate literate, including knowing reasons for anthropogenic climate change and its potential for harm; the difference between climate stabilization and destabilization; climate-stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, the basis for those targets, and the measures needed to achieve them; and, primary categories of emissions, including the most problematic category: cars and light-duty trucks;
  • Advocate school policies that maximize instruction time and minimize chronic absenteeism;
  • Work to close our opportunity and achievement gaps by leveraging the flexibility of Local Control Funding Formula, engage parents and communities to develop accountability plans benefiting all students, particularly low income, English learners, foster children and students with disabilities;
  • Provide foster youth with the targeted support and services they need to succeed in school and prepare for college and career;
  • Ensure that the federal and state governments fully fund special education;
  • Build a system of school accountability with rigorous and achievable expectations for student and educators that ensures every child graduates from high school ready for college or career and civic life;
  • Ensure that all students receive quality instruction by updating programs that prepare future teachers and providing new teachers with meaningful and objective feedback, with an eye toward lifting the state’s most disadvantaged and struggling schools and students;
  • Oppose voucher systems for schools;
  • Continue to build and sustain proven afterschool and summer programs in order to keep children safe and to close the achievement gap;
  • Ensure all students have access to school counselors and nurses and increase the capacity of school-based health centers to provide more children with access to physical exams, including mental health, vision, hearing, and dental services;
  • Take a comprehensive approach to childhood obesity by providing adequate time for exercise and offering nutrition education in schools;
  • Promote age-appropriate factual sex education in school curriculum throughout California;
  • Ensure educators and classified staff receive wages commensurate with expertise and responsibility and have opportunities for professional growth;
  • Protect the right for educators and classified staff to organize and be represented by a union of choice;
  • Work to increase access to modern jobs by requiring that all school districts offer STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics – and encouraging students, particularly those underrepresented in STEAM, to study these subjects with necessary academic support;
  • Ensure that sworn peace officers in schools are adequately trained to work with children and teenagers and that the use of force against students is unacceptable except in extreme circumstances; recognize and address persistent issues of bias such as institutional racism; and, understand the need for increased empathy of potential atypical reactions of students with disabilities;
  • Urge schools to use restorative policies and practices and to engage in regular bias training with regard to student discipline;
  • Require schools to provide a safe environment where students are free from bullying and harassment and do not feel threatened;
  • Have schools use restorative justice policies and practices in student discipline;
  • Have schools recognize and eliminate practices that feed the unjust school-to-prison pipeline: institutional racism, zero tolerance policies, criminalizing childhood behavior, inappropriate use of law enforcement with students of color, and, using exclusionary punishment such as detentions, suspensions, expulsions;
  • Make California schools a sanctuary for all children regardless of immigration status or documentation;
  • Support implementation of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act in public education and advocate for adequate funding to train teachers and develop curriculum that incorporates the history and contributions of LGBTQ people;
  • Support and fully fund ethnic studies as a required public secondary school course with a curriculum that requires students to critically analyze the impact of all forms of discrimination against vulnerable communities, indigenous communities and communities of color, while also analyzing social movements to challenge racism, sexism, antisemitism, islamophobia, and all other forms of oppression;
  • Support restoring civics as a required public and private secondary school course with a recommended curriculum that covers the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship; how government works at the local, state, and federal levels; critical analysis of the news and political communications; and, what an individual can do to participate in democratic policymaking; and,
  • Support only those charter schools that are managed by public and elected boards, not-for-profit, and transparent in governance; have equitable admissions; adopt fair labor practices and respect labor neutrality; and, supplement rather than supplant public education programs.

Post-Secondary Education

  • Work to return to tuition-free public college and university systems for all Californians funded through progressive taxation because a college-educated workforce without debt is vital to California’s future;
  • Prioritize higher education to correct years of underfunding, some $1 billion each for UC and CSU, in order to restore top-quality post-secondary education and ensure a place for all qualified in-state students;
  • Support learning environments that include robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and encourage partnerships between school districts and local building and construction trades councils through use of project labor agreements/community workforce agreements to create pathways to construction careers;
  • Support adequate financial aid programs so that no student pursuing higher education is overburdened by debt and support financial aid for students pursuing an apprenticeship or trade school in a manner that is equitable to students pursuing college or university;
  • Advocate expanding the Cal Grant program within the community college system;
  • Advocate for increased funding for financial aid programs such Cal Grant and Pell Grant so that aid helps to cover non-tuition costs, such as housing and transportation, to eliminate student homelessness and food instability, and covers full attendance cost for very low income students;
  • Work to expand the CalFresh program for students and other programs that address food insecurity such as food pantries and food bank partnerships;
  • Support access to healthy eating in and out of school though nutrition classes and cooking classes and availability of food choices that do not increase the risk of diabetes and obesity;
  • Fight on behalf of college and university “adjunct faculty” who do the same work as full-time faculty and meet the same professional standards to receive comparable, livable wages and benefits;
  • Encourage community colleges and other colleges and universities to use full-time faculty as practicable and to provide office-hour faculty support to ensure student access to all courses and to increase on-time graduation rates;
  • Support Adult Education and Community College programs for life-long learning;
  • Advocate for refinancing of current student loans and to treat those loans as subject to bankruptcy;
  • Oppose tax bill provisions that would eliminate the exemption of tuition waivers from taxable income or that would repeal the student loan interest deduction or the Lifetime Learning Credit;
  • Support state funding for existing community colleges and online class systems and restrict funding for unaccredited completely online community colleges;
  • Support the re-establishment and implementation of equitable affirmative action in admissions processes at California’s public universities and colleges;
  •  Provide medical school debt forgiveness for doctors who agree to work in underserved rural areas; and,
  • Support the extension of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protections for students with disabilities through college, trade schools, and any other educational programs.
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