California’s public school system needs to be restored to its rightful place as the envy of the nation. It starts with the best early childhood education, in which all 4-year-olds have access to full-day, high-quality instruction regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Within California State Assembly District 77, San Diego Unified and Poway Unified School districts have made excellent progress toward this goal.
To assure access to the best jobs of the future, special emphasis needs to be shifted toward stronger STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A creative balance between innovative classroom learning and in-the-field mentoring and team projects can give students both a passion for these subjects and establishing life-long mentoring relationships with STEM leaders in business and academia.
California higher-education financial aid programs such as Pell and Cal Grants must be fully funded to help alleviate crippling student debt. Student loans cannot be the only path to higher education.
Community colleges and trade schools should be tuition-free for all California residents.
California has one of the most progressive programs on tuition-free access to community colleges in the nation. 70% of lower-income students are eligible to attend community college tuition-free. But when the cost of living, transportation, and books are considered, community colleges and trade schools are still out of reach for most working-class students and families. We need to get creative in our approach to solving the problem of actual affordability for all students at our community colleges and trade schools, giving our next generations a brighter future.