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|California State Government||November 5, 2002 Election|
California must adequately fund its schools to close the education opportunity gap
By Mark SanchezCandidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; State of California
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California has the fifth largest economy in the world; yet school funding doesn't come close to reflecting this economic reality.EDUCATION FUNDING California, with the greatest economy in the country, is currently 31st of 50 states in per pupil spending; it is 48th when adjusted for cost of living. We allocate about $6,500 per student, compared to New York and New Jersey's $10,000 per pupil.
MORE STATE REVENUE NEEDED FOR EDUCATION
PROPOSITION 13 More revenue directed toward education needs, especially for poor students of color. Proposition 13 needs to be re-worked so that corporations pay a fare tax on property. Corporate property is vastly different than homeowner property because the life span of a corporation is much longer than that of the typical homeowner. Extra property tax revenue secured from corporation should go to our school-age children in education initiatives (see below). VEHICLE LICENSE FEE The state Vehicle License Fee should be re-introduced, at least for the short term, which would garner about 4 billion dollars a year that can be directed to school initiatives.
RE-INSTITUTE TOP INCOME TAX BRACKETAn initiative that State Senator John Burton is backing that would bring back a top tier income tax for the wealthy. This new revenue source should be directed toward public education needs.
RE-DIRECT PRISON FUNDINGCorrectional officers now get $73,000 a year in their seventh year of service in our state's prisons. Teachers average about $43,000 after serving the same amount of time. We need to re-prioritize; books not bars.
MORE DOLLARS NEEDED FOR REAL REFORM, NOT HIGH STAKES TESTING
HIGH STAKES TESTING IS BAD POLICY We have a high stakes testing situation now that is primed to punish urban school children and their teachers. Urban school districts cannot keep their teachers, have students with high needs, and are full of crumbling school facilities. Basic classroom materials are lacking (and teachers end up spending their own pay for supplies) and resources from nurses to social workers to librarians to tech teachers are rare. Schools that don't meet their testing targets face state takeover. The high school exit exam will lead to an even more massive dropout rate amongst kids of color. Essentially, the state wants to punish poor students twice: once by not providing a basic pre-K through 12th grade education; and then forcing them to drop out of high school if they cannot pass the exit exam. WHAT WE REALLY NEED Before going the high stakes testing route, California needs to put the money upfront by: ensuring universal high quality pre-k programs paying teachers well--teachers should start at $50,000 a year ensuring proper, well-equipped facilities for a safe and secure learning environment recruiting and retaining teachers of color to work in urban areas building leadership in communities of color for school administration positions fully funding bilingual programs
STATE SCHOOL BONDS New schools are needed more than ever because of deteriorating facilities, over-crowding due to k-3 class size reducation, and because too many students are being esentially warehoused in unsuitable "portables" or "temporary" classrooms. We need to pass state bonds for school facilities. We need to support the governor's 10 billion dollar bond proposal set for next November's state ballot. Push for at least 20 billion dollar bond initiative for 2004 ballot.
OTHER ISSUES Support anti-commercialization efforts that keep schools as sanctuaries from advertising The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education does great work in this area
Support homophobia-free school environments by opposing the Boy Scouts of America being on school campuses.
Oppose student tracking programs (which are based on standardized test scores) so that all students have the same access to high-quality education programs and curriculum
No SAT I requirement for public university entrance
Implement major components of the recently completed California Master Plan for Education
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