Ron Birnbaum for Assembly | Education
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I want to lift California’s K-12 schools back to where they belong: among the best in the nation, rather than among the worst.

I believe this begins with universal pre-Kindergarten for all Californians. Children who attend preschool programs are better prepared across the board. Kids who go to preschool do well later in school, get better jobs when they are older, and are even less likely to end up in the criminal justice system. It’s too great an investment to ignore, and when we do, we sow the seeds of a lifetime of inequality and injustice. We need to find stable and enduring funding for this major undertaking, but it starts with a commitment to doing it.

Some kids in AD 51 really benefit from their attendance at schools other than their neighborhood public school.  We need to stand by those neighborhood public schools, but we can have a system that takes multiple approaches to suit the diverse needs of our families and communities.

I’m eager to move forward on improvements to our public education system by means that are transparent and put the needs of students above all.

Kids don’t just teach themselves (ok, they do to an extent, if we give them the right setting); kids need great teachers. We need to support teachers better in many ways, including helping them to afford living in the communities they serve. Teaching must be made a highly attractive option for talented college graduates. And we should be open to all evidence-based approaches to improve teacher quality and retention in schools.

I will work to fully fund higher education in California. I believe community colleges should be free. Public universities should be affordable – which also means free for many if not most students and their families. No student should incur large debts to pay for a four-year degree.  Kids need to have the quality pre-K-12 education and preparation they need to succeed when they get to college, so they can focus on acquiring advanced skills and knowledge.  We need continued work to ensure that girls and young women have good support in pursuing STEM subjects and careers. We are misusing the talents and passions of our professors if all they do is help remediate writing and basic math skills that kids ought to acquire before they get to college.

We need to put the shine back on the crown jewels in this state – our unsurpassed places of natural beauty and our top institutions of higher learning. Both make California a great place to live, and investing in and protecting these has benefits for everyone.