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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 post-secondary 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, Black or African American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native students, and other historically underperforming groups;
  • Provide instruction in social studies, ethnic studies, sciences, literature, art, music, foreign languages, civics, health, physical education, and career technical education;
  • Ensure that school children have current textbooks, including history books that are inclusive and historically accurate, representing diverse historical facts beyond dominant culture narratives, and textbooks that reflect scientific consensus on issues such as climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang theory;
  • Work to ensure that all graduating high school students are climate literate and know the reasons for the anthropogenic climate crisis and its potential for harm, the difference between climate stabilization and destabilization, climate-stabilizing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) reduction targets, the basis for GHG targets and the measures needed to achieve GHG goals, and the primary categories of emissions, including the harmful effects of cars and light-duty trucks;
  • Advocate for school policies that prioritize beneficial instruction time, a variety of student engagement techniques, and minimize chronic absenteeism without perpetuating disproportionate impacts that attendance policies have had on groups of historically marginalized students, and support funding by enrollment rather than attendance;
  • Work to close opportunity and achievement gaps by leveraging the flexibility of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), engaging parents and communities to develop accountability plans benefiting all students, particularly low income, English learners, Black or African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native students, 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;
  • Advocate for federal and state governments to fully fund special education;
  • Build a system of school accountability with high expectations for students and educators that ensures that 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 and a focus on District-level accountability for fostering environments that lead to successful student outcomes;
  • Continue to build and sustain proven afterschool programs and summer extended opportunities to keep children safe, improve educational opportunity, and to close achievement gaps;
  • 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 contagious disease testing, mental health, vision, hearing, and dental services;
  • Take a comprehensive approach to childhood obesity by providing adequate time for exercise, offering nutrition education in schools, and ensuring that school-based meals are healthy and appealing to students;
  • Support the immediate implementation of age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education which is objective and appropriate for use with students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds throughout California;
  • Ensure educators and classified staff receive wages commensurate with expertise and responsibility with opportunities for professional growth;
  • Protect the right for educators and classified staff in all public schools, including public charter schools, to organize and engage in collective bargaining as members of a union of choice;
  • Work to increase access to modern jobs by requiring that all school districts offer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) subjects and encouraging students, particularly those underrepresented in STEAM, to study these subjects with necessary academic support;
  • Advocate for the replacement of sworn peace officers in schools with qualified non-police personnel who are trained to work with children and teenagers, who understand that the use of force against students is unacceptable, who recognize and address persistent issues of bias such as institutional racism and ableism in all school systems, and who understand the need for increased empathy over potential atypical reactions from students with disabilities;
  • Urge schools to use restorative policies and practices and to engage in regular bias training with regard to student goal setting and disciplinary practices;
  • Require schools to provide a safe environment where students are free from bullying and harassment and do not feel threatened;
  • Have schools recognize and eliminate policies and practices that feed the unjust school-to-prison pipeline: including institutional racism and ableism, zero tolerance policies, criminalizing childhood behavior, use of law enforcement with students of color and students with disabilities, the use of exclusionary punishment such as detentions, suspensions, expulsions, and the use of any type of student restraint procedures and devices;
  • 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;
  • Advocate for 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;
  • Support state-level curricular reforms to be crafted in collaboration with stakeholders and educators expected to implement such reforms;
  • Support public charter schools that are authorized and monitored 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 public education programs, particularly for students in historically low performing subgroups such as low income, English learners, Black or African American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native students, foster children, and students with disabilities;
  • Advocate for all local funds earmarked for local school districts and county boards of education, but were subsequently allocated to other public service operations including, for example, the funding of local court systems, to be recaptured for use by local and county governmental bodies for educational purposes;
  • Support all public school options that provide parents and guardians of Black or African American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native students access to high quality educational alternatives to close achievement gaps;
  • Oppose K-12 Education Savings Accounts, school vouchers, or any programs that would take away from public school funding;
  • Support educational equity to raise students to the same level of education, without lowering standards; and,
  • Support at-home computer and internet access for all students to improve educational access and to allow remote learning when public health concerns require.

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, 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 in an effort to create pathways to construction careers;
  • Support 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 as Cal Grant and Pell Grant to help cover non-tuition costs such as housing and transportation, to eliminate student homelessness and food instability, and cover full attendance cost for very low income students;
  • Work to expand the CalFresh 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 through nutrition and cooking classes that address the availability of food choices that do not increase the risk of diabetes and obesity;
  • Support negotiating contracts with local, affordable food vendors for campus food and dining options;
  • 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 to provide office-hour faculty support to ensure student access to all courses and increase on-time graduation rates;
  • Support Adult Education and Community College programs for life-long learning;
  • Advocate for refinancing student debt and restore bankruptcy protection for student loans;
  • 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;
  • Support the extension of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protections for students with disabilities through college, trade schools, and any other educational program;
  • Advocate for childcare services and family resource centers for our student parents at colleges and universities to help increase success and economic security for two generations: student parents and their children;
  • Support the removal of mascots with American Indian or Native Alaskan names to more inclusive mascots; and,
  • Support affordable campus housing that is more cost-effective than the surrounding community.