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State of California June 3, 2014 Election
Smart Voter

Neel Kashkari's Education Plan

By Neel Kashkari

Candidate for Governor

This information is provided by the candidate
My education plan empowers parents and teachers so that every child can succeed. By implementing bold reforms, we can transform our schools to lift student achievement, reduce income inequality and eradicate poverty.
Today, California schools ranks 46th in the nation in reading and math, and the state struggles from one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. Our current education policies simply pour more resources into a broken system without truly empowering parents and teachers to innovate and deliver a tailored, high-quality education program to California's students. Furthermore, the state's cash-strapped institutions of higher education system must worry about bringing in tuition checks instead of focusing on access, quality and graduating students prepared for success in the 21st century economy.

California used to boast one of the best education systems in the nation, and we do know how to fix our schools. States around the country have implemented bold reforms that can help improve educational outcomes for our students, both in our K-12 schools and in our institutions of higher education. With the right leadership and the right reforms, we can transform our schools to lift achievement and rebuild California's middle class.

My education plan champions reforms designed to help improve California's K-12 education system and improve access to a quality higher education:

K-12 Education

1. Reroute state K-12 funding directly to school sites, so that teachers, principals, and parents can decide how the funding is spent.

Students deserve a funding system where money used on their behalf is allocated in the most efficient and deliberate manner possible. Teachers and principals are undoubtedly best positioned to make these decisions. This direct funding model will maximize the sum of public dollars that makes it into the classroom and supports learning.

2. Eliminate the vast majority of the California Education Code, providing all schools with the flexibility that charters enjoy and transforming how kids are educated.

California charter schools enjoy broad freedom through the "mega-waiver" + a statutory exemption from the vast majority of rules and regulations imposed upon traditional school districts under the California Education Code. Neel strongly believes that education should not be dictated by Washington, Sacramento, or even by school districts. In exchange for granting schools the authority they need to make funding and instructional decisions, and eliminating constraining sections of the state Education Code, they will be held to strict accountability standards. With this new flexibility and control, schools will be encouraged to:

  • Bring vocational training back to schools (Career Technical Education)
  • Implement longer school days and school years
  • Reward great teachers and hire more teachers (where appropriate)
  • Flip the classroom to maximize student-teacher engagement

3. Support the innovation of charter schools by ensuring resource and facility parity, and eliminating the statutory cap.

I will be a strong advocate for charter schools, ensuring that they operate on equal footing with traditional schools + both in funding and facilities + and will repeal the state's charter school cap, ensuring that the law never impedes broader educational progress or excludes any child from the opportunity that an excellent school provides. Higher Education

4. Incentivize student achievement and clear the path to graduation by linking campus performance to state funding.

The current higher education funding model incentivizes colleges to hoard students rather than graduate them. The more enrollees an institution has, the more funding it receives from the state. The incentives must change to focus on student achievement. I will lead a process to redesign the way California higher education institutions are funded, including the following elements: Establishing different goals for the three higher education segments so that they can thrive within their respective missions.

Rewarding progress to maintain the integrity of the overall goal of degree/certificate completion Keeping the funding formula and corresponding reward targets simple.

5. Promote affordability and fewer course bottlenecks by mandating all UCs and CSUs place 20% of their courses online within four years.

This will not only help address the bottleneck problem that limits the ability of students to graduate on-time, but will also provide students with greater flexibility in completing their necessary courses.

6. Break down barriers by allowing students across the UC, CSU, and CCC systems to take for-credit courses from world-class UC and CSU professors.

I will promote the cross-pollination of professors between higher education segments so that more students have access to excellent professors, the impact of bottleneck courses is reduced, the total length of study is shortened, and the ultimate cost of education is lowered. With 20% of courses made available on-line, students from all three segments will be allowed to receive instruction, for credit, from UC professors, and CSU courses will also be made available to Community College students.

7. Pioneer a new financing program for STEM students where free tuition is provided in exchange for a small interest in their future earnings.

In order to align a new higher education financing model with the workforce needs of the state, Neel proposes a scholarship program that provides four-year college students majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field free tuition in exchange for a small interest in their future earnings. This funding model is voluntary, so students could opt to participate in the traditional loan model of college financing, but this is just one way to help lower- and middle-class families afford the costs of education and to provide the opportunity of upward mobility to all hard-working students.

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