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Santa Clara County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Smart Voter


By Joe Coto

Candidate for State Senator; District 15

This information is provided by the candidate
A crucial part of achieving the American Dream is being able to receive a quality education. However, California ranks among the lowest state in student achievement and near the bottom in per pupil spending forcing our teachers to do more with less. The following paper outlines my plan for improving education for all California students.
No issue is more important or central to our society's well being than the success of our schools. Our schools have the responsibility of developing a workforce able to sustain us in the global economy. Reports show that 40% of high school graduates must earn BA degrees to be competitive. Our schools must work to create a knowledgeable electorate to lead our Democracy forward. Parents depend on schools to help them meet their family's expectations for a healthy school experience and the tools to make wise choices leading to successful lives. Finally, each child in our schools deserves and expects the best we can offer. Having access to a great education is part of the American Dream.

California has 6.25 million public school children. Sadly, we are not meeting our obligations to them. In addition, more than 25% of California's students are English language learners, at the same time they are learning the curriculum. Our schools are struggling with horrific budget cuts. As a result, we now rank among the lowest state in student achievement. We also rank near the bottom in per-pupil spending. Californians currently give substantially less of their earnings to support schools than they did 50 years ago. The states of New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts spend more than twice as much per student than California.

Despite the many hardships in California's schools, we miraculously continue to raise test scores and close the achievement gap. Teachers struggle with classrooms of 35 or more students, while support programs, school buses, librarians, nurses, crossing guards and tutoring programs are being reduced. While many complain that Sacramento politicians bicker about our problems more than solve them, we Californians cannot afford to argue. Instead we must work together and ensure the state's commitment to excellent schools.

Some have given up on our schools and feel they cannot be improved. There are many examples to demonstrate that they can return to excellence. What are the keys to improved schools and greater student success?

  • Fund our schools adequately. Californians should commit to making our schools among the highest funded in the nation. Added funding must also include added accountability.

  • Support schools from the home and community. Parents are their children's first and most important teachers. Students, who receive strong support at home, are more likely to achieve in school.

  • The industries whose future workforce comes from these schools must also be involved. For example, they can set curriculum, coach robotics, co-teach Chemistry, tutor in math, and act as role models.

  • Hire and support the best teachers and administrators. The skill, caring and commitment of each individual educator is of great importance. California can look up to Finland's model

  • Challenge students in a rigorous curriculum. Many students report that school is too easy and what they learn is how to `get by' doing the minimum.

  • Ensure equal access to all students. We relegate some to the lowest levels and they never get out. When students are not succeeding in school we all lose.

  • Along with challenge and rigor we must include extra time for learning + after school programs, vacation programs, Saturday programs because students do not learn at the same pace.

  • Ensure that all adults who work in schools have access to high quality lifelong learning. Teaching is both a skill and an art. All must commit to constant growth and improvement.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 20, 2012 14:51
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