Newsom Has Allowed Special Interests to Hijack our Kids Education. California’s Kids Deserve Better than Elites Playing Politics

Shawn Collins

California Gubernatorial Candidate

California’s K-12 public education system is broken.  While our state has historically been seen as a world leader in technology and innovation, our leadership position is in jeopardy due to the current state of California’s public education system.  Governor Gavin Newsom has allowed special interests and corrupt politicians to hijack our kids’ education in an effort to empower his friends, and support his unquenchable thirst for the national stage.  All the while, Hispanic, black, and economically disadvantaged children fall further behind as the achievement gap increases, despite the increases in funding year-after-year.

A recent Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll found that about 40% of Californians think that the quality of education in the state’s K-12 public school system has gotten worse over the past few years, and almost half of parents would send their child to a private or religious school just like Governor Newsom if cost and location were not an issue.  Sadly, more than four in ten parents say their child has fallen behind academically during the pandemic.

To add insult to injury, California’s education-labor union political machine is failing our most vulnerable students, as the latest student achievement data show that many of the state’s low-income students have little chance of competing for a job that requires math or technical skills beyond basic arithmetic.  Right now, the average eighth-grade Hispanic or black student in California demonstrates mathematical competency that is below the fourth-grade level and just slightly above third-grade level.  Lee Ohanian, a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, believes it is time for parents of Hispanic and black students to revolt against California’s education-labor union political machine, and based on decades of teaching failure the education-labor union political machine has presided over, I completely agree.   The quality of a child’s education should not be determined by their zip code.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress consistently ranks California in the bottom tier of academic achievement (currently 45th).  This ranking is unacceptable – and the fact that we are nearly dead last in the country, but spend more than most states is downright criminal.  Moreover, the political theater of the Democratic party professing to be champions of our state’s kids when it is convenient for their movement is nauseating.  It’s time for a leader that does the right thing, even when no one is looking.

So, what is the solution?  First, we need to remove the power and influence from politicians and special interests, and return it to parents and educators.  The business of California public education must end, and we must return our focus to our kids, and the fundamental building blocks of education.

Second, we need an innovative education model that prepares our kids for a creative and dynamic future that will be characterized by constant and rapid advances in technology, rather than remaining subservient to an education model that was built a half century ago and was designed to create employees for an industrial economy.  It’s time to put our kids first, and fund students, not systems, brick buildings, and institutions that hold us hostage. 

Third, we must provide parents with more authority and choice when it comes to their child’s education.  This can be accomplished through creating a Parents Bill of Rights, reducing barriers for students transferring to other schools, removing the cap on charter school funding, allowing state education funds to follow the child, ending Critical Race Theory, and empowering local school districts to select and incorporate curriculum, vocational education, and discipline programs that reflect their community’s values.

Our kids deserve a leader that fights for them, and puts their interests first.  Not one that uses them as pawns in their ruthless bid for political power.

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