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State of California November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter


By Laura Wells

Candidate for Governor

This information is provided by the candidate
We must -- and we can -- restore California's educational excellence.
Education + Key Themes

  • For decades, California was acclaimed for having the best school systems in the country
  • Since the passage of Prop 13, the State has sunk to the lowest fifth of all states in key measures of educational achievement
  • There are solutions - we can rebuild the quality of our school systems so that once again California can be a world-class engine of personal opportunity and business excellence.


California can provide and maintain quality public education, creating the best conditions for teaching and learning, controlled by the community it serves. Our educational resources should not be provided by the strings-attached "charity" of foundations and corporations, who have no long-term loyalties or commitments, but should be fully funded, by making those individuals and businesses that have already greatly benefited from an educated populace in California pay their fair share.

There is a profound crisis in our State's public education system that has resulted from the long-term under-funding of this vital social institution. It should be unacceptable to all of us that California ranks 47th in K-12 per pupil spending and 45th in the nation in spending for community colleges per-pupil. It should be unacceptable to us all, as Californians, that the percentage of high school graduates going on to college had declined from 66% in 1996 to 44% by 2004 (ranking us 46th in the U.S.).

What We Propose

Parents and students already know that there have been great problems in schools, especially in economically under-supported urban and rural areas. On average, new teachers in urban schools now remain less than 5 years. Such turnover is disastrous for any stable school and community environment. It results from the Peace Corps-like approach of many intern programs, and is fueled by the difficult and deteriorating conditions in the classrooms and the neighborhoods where families have lost jobs and homes. So we must have a positive program that defends and improves the circumstances of teachers, educational staff, students, and parents. What our children need:

  • Class-size reduction, to reverse the tread toward larger and larger classes, aiming at a ratio of 1:15 in K-12 so that drop-out rates will reduce;
  • Improvement of teaching conditions with adequate time to plan, collaborate and meet with other staff, students and parents;
  • Qualified teachers and instructional aides as well as intervention personnel to keep schools safe;
  • Material resources, not only in terms of books, class materials and technology but clean and healthy facilities as well;
  • Programs that meet the specific needs of students, whether in special education, ESL, or AP, as well as strong physical education, arts, school-to-career programs, and libraries;
  • Relevant instruction, not only in study skills and college-preparation, but in cultural diversity, racial and gender issues and citizen activism/participation for a cooperative and peace-oriented society;
  • Expansion of early childhood programs, which have a direct correlation to later educational success, and adult education classes, which help with literacy, family skills, and life-long learning;
  • Increasing the community college programs and their full-time teaching positions and restoring the enrollment and classes cut at the California State Universities;
  • Electives and enrichment programs as well as support services in schools (nurses, counselors, librarians, etc), which often keep students engaged and in school;
  • Affordable higher education, with scholarships - not loans - for deserving students.

Read the full text of Laura's Education policy at: Read Laura's other platform planks at:

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