Public schools saved my life.

My father left our family when I was just a young child.  I next saw him when I was 39 years old.  He told me the physical and mental scars of war made it too hard for him to return to his family after his military service.  So, I grew up without him.

My mom raised four children by herself until she lost her battle to cancer when I was six years old. After she passed, I moved to Philadelphia to live with a cousin who raised me and my brother as her sons.  This amazing woman provided the love we needed and made sure we got a great education.  That education helped me to become a 20-year social worker and ultimately to be elected to serve on a City Council, a School Board, and to now the California State Assembly.

In my life, education has been a great equalizer that allowed me to overcome humble beginnings.  I want the same opportunities for all of California's kids.

That’s why improving public education is my top priority.  I passed legislation to provide millions of dollars to school districts to keep kids in school and out of the criminal justice system.  And I'm working to reduce our statewide teacher shortage by advocating for teacher housing and other incentives that will allow us to attract and retain great teachers.

We can’t be satisfied with the status quo.  I will put in place innovative strategies to improve our public schools.

But have no doubt - fighting for education starts with opposing the efforts by President Trump and Betsy DeVos to defund our public schools.  I will fight the Trump Agenda to gut our public schools at every step.  California needs to be ready to face this crisis head on.

The lack of qualified teachers in our public schools is a crisis.  In many districts class size is ballooning because of the lack of teachers.  A good plan will strike a balance between bonuses and and other incentives that will allow us to attract and retain great teachers.

California is the cradle of modern technology.  My plan will create internship programs with tech companies, place tech mentors in our schools, and modernize our curriculum to include tech. Science and technology are continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives, which is why I believe that we need to ensure every California student has the resources they need to develop their capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math to succeed in this high-tech economy.

We must close the achievement gap, and I will work to provide rigorous educational opportunities for all students at all levels.

There was a time when California schools were the nation’s best.  Now, by most accounts, California ranks 41st in the nation in per-pupil spending.  It’s time to make our public education system among the greatest in the nation.  I won’t stop until we get there.