Today’s kindergarteners will graduate from high school in 2030. Whether they pursue college or begin a career, they must be prepared to be successful in this uncertain future and solve problems that are not yet known.
California is an incredible state where the future happens. However, in public education, we continue to fall behind. While there are examples of incredible things happening in urban, suburban, and rural schools across our state, too many of our children are not being prepared for the future.
We must do more, together, to support all of our students. Regardless of zip code or learning needs, every child deserves a public education that allows them to fulfill their potential. This is not just a moral imperative, it is crucial to the prosperity of our entire state.
We need to provide an education that ensures our students are future-ready. Our graduates must be intellectually curious, open minded, critical thinkers with strong communication and collaboration skills.
In my role as State Superintendent, I will focus on clear and tangible priorities that will improve the daily lives of students, teachers, and families across California:
We expect robust Wi-Fi in coffee shops, but somehow lack broadband internet in many of our schools. Preparing future-ready students means every classroom in the state needs to have great internet access, though there are more than a million California students who lack the internet connectivity to support digital learning in the classroom. I will close the digital divide so that all schools are able to use technology to prepare our children for the future.
Students deserve a safe learning environment, yet one in three California students report being bullied at school. I will work with counties, districts, and communities to spread best practices in countering bullying in our schools. We need to elevate this issue as a top priority in our education system. Safe and supportive classrooms are foundational to a productive learning environment for students and allows families to focus on their child’s education.
We are facing a teaching crisis in California. Many schools face staff shortages, low educator morale, high cost of living, and a lack of quality education materials. We keep asking more of our teachers as our expectations grow without increasing professional supports. Too often, our conversations around teaching are focused on tenure or high stakes evaluation, instead of support for our current and future teachers.
Everyday, almost 300,000 California teachers, including my father, do amazing work. I will work with partners across the state to improve our teacher preparation programs and make sure that all educators are getting the same individualized support and professional growth that we expect them to provide to students.
In state as large and diverse as California, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for 6.2 million students in 10,000 schools. Local school districts and communities need to be able to determine the best way their specific communities can meet the high expectations of students and families and prepare our children to be future ready.
In many ways, California public education policy is moving in a positive direction. However, the the next State Superintendent needs to fight to implement these policies faster and more effectively. We must protect local control in decisions regarding educational priorities and use of resources, maintain an equitable funding structure that directs resources to students who need more support, increase financial and performance transparency, improve communication to and engagement with families and communities, and give county and local districts the support they need to meet the needs of their students.
I have the experience leading large, complex public organizations required to make this happen as the next State Superintendent.
Working together, there is so much that we can do to improve the daily lives of students, teachers, and families. It will be the honor of my life to serve the more than 6 million students who are in the same classrooms that supported me, and I look forward to working with you.