Schools, colleges, and universities in California should be run by administrators who are also educators with teaching experience, not politicians or non-academic managers. There shall be a moratorium placed on increased administrative spending, and in particular an end to increasing senior administrator pay, until tuition costs and pay issues for educators are resolved. Ongoing training, including leadership skills and professional development, must be accessible so all teachers can stay up to date on new knowledge and provide the best quality instruction, while also creating a path for teachers to move into administration.
All levels of public education in California must have a California studies component, covering such topics as California history, government, culture, geography, art, etc. College and university students would be required to pass a class in California politics to receive their degrees, just as is presently required for American Government.
Pre-K through High School
The California National Party supports universal Pre-Kindergarten education. This includes expanding the current public school system to include non-compulsory full-day Kindergarten and free full-day preschool for 3 and 4-year olds.
Beyond Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, we will develop California-wide standards for history and science curricula using material crafted independently of the American market, specifically the “Texas curriculum” which is the basis of most U.S. textbooks. Such education must focus on the variety of contributions to world, North American, and California history, made by people of many ethnic, political, and gender backgrounds.
- The accomplishments of our ancestors would be celebrated and historic injustices acknowledged.
- Science curriculum would be based on facts currently and widely accepted by the global scientific community in such fields as biology, astronomy, environmental geography, etc.
- Emphasis would be on the development of critical thinking skills and the practice of evaluating evidence.
- Investment in STEM fields, with emphasis on historically underrepresented groups.
- Educate all students in English and Spanish, the two primary languages of the Western Hemisphere, with a goal of bilingual fluency.
- Additional resources devoted to study of languages of increasing global importance, e.g. Mandarin Chinese, Hindustani, etc. taught through a combination of in class study and an online curriculum so students are not limited by local resources.
- Fine arts, music, technology, and cyber-safety courses will also be required, from Kindergarten through High School.
While we realize that the primary function of public education is to prepare young people to enter the workforce, we feel it is also important to instill an appreciation for music and fine arts. These programs are typically the first to be cut in a budget crisis, and are difficult to restart once finances improve. Therefore we suggest that all California primary schools be required to maintain some level of programming in these areas, and that they be valued equally with athletic programs when funding priorities are set.
The California National Party also advocates:
- Overhauling teacher retention and review policies, to support new teachers and keep them working within the K-12 system.
- Teachers must be guaranteed academic freedom and have their performance evaluated using a review standard that includes peers, superiors, and students to ensure quality instruction.
- Providing teachers the ability to move to different districts while maintaining seniority and pay grade.
- Ensuring consistent standards of quality between districts, with a maximum funding difference of 15% per student between school districts, allowing flexibility to provide higher salaries in more expensive areas while guaranteeing that no schools are left underfunded.
College and University
All Community Colleges should be free for Californians, regardless of immigration status, as defined in the Immigration plank. The Community College system would be intended as not only the first stage of higher education for young adults to decide their educational path, gain employable vocational skills, etc., but also for adult retraining programs as the economy continues to evolve, as well as general educational enrichment for all Californians.
The California National Party will:
- Create in California, similar to the German or Canadian models, a supervised and regulated apprentice program combining academic course work with paid, on-site job training for both blue-collar and white-collar employment, leading to an Associate’s Degree and job placement.
- Guarantee admission to the California State University (CSU) anywhere in California all students who do not already possess a Bachelor’s degree and fulfill certain class requirements within a given time period with at least a 2.5 GPA in academic classes.
- Guarantee admission to the University of California (UC) those with a 3.3 GPA, if they prefer.
- Guarantee transfer agreements with at least one CSU and one UC from each Community College.
- Ensure that tuition for transfer students will be covered in subsequent academic periods so long as the above GPAs are maintained.
- Ensure that other students are permitted to apply, and tuition costs should be reduced from their current level and capped.
- See to it that student fees and acceptance policy for non-Californians would remain unchanged.
Students graduating from a California high school with a 3.3 GPA for CSUs and 3.5 for UCs can enter university directly if they wish and will have tuition waived if they maintain those GPAs for their freshman/sophomore years, and will then be subject to the GPA requirements for transfer students. Since this will vastly reduce the number of incoming students, the size of freshman/sophomore classes at CSUs and UCs will be smaller.
California will undertake an expansion of the Community College system, especially in rural areas, and see to it that, just as each county should have a county hospital, each county with a population over 50,000 should have its own community college system. Smaller counties will be unified into districts with physical classes held at locations in each county. Smaller expansions of the CSU and UC system should also cover greater geographic diversity and we propose the following campuses: CSU Redding, Indio, Hanford (near the location of the proposed Kings-Tulare Regional Station), and UC Visalia.
Finally, post-graduation, we must reduce tuition for graduate degrees at CSUs and UCs, with an optional program to waive or reduce tuition in exchange for a period of employment in county hospitals, district attorney and public defender offices, the California public education system, etc. depending on degree.
The California National Party believes that California should:
- Incorporate critical ethnic and racial studies into all K-16 education.
- Maintain education as a fundamental civil right and an essential process for understanding the world, which is unfortunately currently devoid of thinking critically, and of learning about racism.
- Establish comprehensive statewide ethnic/racial issue education standards for primary, secondary, and tertiary public and private schools.
- Mandate that accurate history classes and at least one additional language (beyond the student’s native language) be taught to all students, beginning in primary education.
- Increase funding for elective foreign language instruction at all levels of public education.
- Incentivize study abroad programs in secondary schools that are fully-accessible to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status.
- Guarantee high performing teachers the ability to move from one district to another.
- Increase funding of new teacher salaries with a focus on underserved areas, and with an explicit ban on using increased funding for administrator and veteran teacher salaries, or for facilities costs.