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Candidates Plan Future of State Education

Illustration by Kai Henthorn-Iwane

On June 5, the California primary elections will take place, and the race for governor is heating up. Gavin Newsom is leading in the polls, and his ideas about education are the most promising for addressing inequalities in the California education system. It is important to consider these candidates’ ideas about education, because their ideas will directly affect all future Californians. The top two candidates in the June primary will move on with their campaign to the November elections regardless of their party.

A February poll showed Gavin Newsom will receive 28 percent of the votes, making him the most favored candidate of the likely voters in the primary election. Newsom believes education should be a lifelong process, beginning before birth with prenatal care. Continuing this idea, Newsom believes California should have universal preschool. In addition, K-12 schools should be given wellness centers, arts programs, and computer science programs, and on top of that, students should have access to free community college.

Newsom’s approach to education is by far the most innovative of the popular candidates. His ideas about education would be largely beneficial to the youngest generation of low income Californians.

Next in the race is John Cox. 14 percent of California’s likely voters support him according to polls. He believes that for-profit charter schools benefit California greatly, specifically because they often have higher test scores than regular public schools. However, the high test results from for-profit charter schools only come about because these schools pick and choose the students they want. This leaves other kids with special needs to the normal public schools because the charter schools are afraid these kids will bring their scores down.

Antonio Villaraigosa follows closely behind Cox with 12 percent. He is a democrat and was mayor of Los Angeles for two terms. One of his main priorities is equality in education. He believes students should always be put first.

On top of this, he stresses bringing up the quality of schools, by paying and training teachers better. These are all very important ideas, but Villaraigosa’s lack of specific plans makes his education agenda weaker than Newsom’s, which has specific plans.

With 10 percent of the likely voters behind him, Travis Allen is fourth in the polls. He believes in pro-parent choice legislation because he feels that teachers and school administration often get priority over the students. Essentially, this would allow private school to be cheaper due to tax credits. While it may sound reasonable, this would likely undermine and segregate the public school system, creating more inequality in education.

While all candidates have interesting ideas, Gavin Newsom is the only one who has put together a concrete proposal for the California education system which will  benefit future generations.