The continuing failure of California’s public schools to meet the needs of its students, especially Latinos, and employers must be corrected. California’s economic engine will falter without a pipeline of skilled and well-prepared talent. The high cost of education is only outweighed by the high cost of failing to educate the workforce of the future. Too many students are not college and career ready, causing them to never achieve their potential and jeopardizing the state’s economic prosperity and security. It is time to transform the public education system into a continuously improving, high-performing, cost-effective and integrated system. There is a preponderance of evidence-based practices and metrics used in other regions that have produced students prepared to work and thrive in the 21st Century.
Changing the Gordian knot that is the public education system has proven difficult. The complexity of the system requires finding integrated solutions, as no single change will fix the system. It is time to focus on making the changes that will begin to make the public schools’ performance ratings move from the bottom of the rankings to the upper tier. Education reforms of school financing, universal preschool, more emphasis on science and math, and better ways to increase college and career readiness will go a long way to ensuring our students can compete in the global economy.
What We Seek
Early Child Education (ECE): Recognize that investing in ECE saves money going forward.
- Support seamless alignment of early education programs (0-5) with K-12, with a greater focus on 0-3
- Support state policies promoting access to child care and strong educational opportunities
- Increase development of a professional early learning workforce
Stronger Partnerships between Employers and Educators: Employers seek a better match of what students are being taught to what skills jobs they are creating require. There needs to be more collaboration so that the students are ready to work and prepared to do their jobs from the first day. We urge legislators to strengthen ways for these collaborations to occur in recognition that over 90% of all jobs require some post-secondary education.
- Support additional CTE grants (AB 445) to increase career technical education and other pathways, such as computer science and engineering, will help fill the thousands of open jobs that employers can’t find the talent to hire.
Support capacity building to implement reforms like Local Control Funding Formula, Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the design of a new accountability system, focused on STEM/STEAM education:
- Support Linked Learning, including funding for work-based learning opportunities
- Support dual enrollment to enhance connectivity between K-12 and Higher Education
- SB 346 (Glazer) is an urgency measure that would require the Governor to select the membership of the computer science strategic implementation advisory panel, revise the timeline and process for plan
recommendations, and repeal the requirement that the Superintendent of Public Instruction appoint a statewide computer science liaison.
Higher Education’s Sustainability and Effectiveness
California’s culture of innovation was built on the nation’s best public higher education system. The future of our state’s economy, our residents’ ability to have meaningful employment, and our democratic way of life require a robust higher education system to spur innovation, increase economic competitiveness and foster a high quality of life. We can restore the luster to our universities and colleges.
Over the past several years the state has allowed a system that has spawned 57 Nobel Prize winners and holds more patents than any other university system in the world to erode. Funding for higher education is down 20 percent since the beginning of the recession in 2008 and continued cuts threaten the flow of talent that powers California’s knowledge based economy. California now faces a shortage of 1 million degrees by 2025. The California Master Plan, written in 1960, is no longer the visionary document it once was. Written to cover up to 1975, the plan needs to be overhauled and reimagined to produce the 21st Century workforce and incorporate the vast technological changes that have and will occur since its creation.
What We Seek
NBLC believes California must rededicate itself to maintaining the most effective higher education system in the nation. To do this NBLC supports:
- Incentivize degrees that are essential to the California economy so the state has the talent it needs to grow
- Improving access to necessary courses through innovative strategies like online learning and course regularization and standardization
- Continue to support local efforts to implement a competency-based learning and prior learning assessment (PLA) framework and adult education
- Develop a plan for upskilling adult workers who are being displaced by automation so they may be employable in the changing job market
- Work with our region’s community colleges and other suppliers to improve curriculum and training in specific industries to increase middle skill graduates’ success rate at getting jobs or getting better jobs at regional employers
- AB 169 (O’Donnell) would establish the Golden State Teacher Grant Program to provide one-time grant funds of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) to each student enrolled on or after January 1, 2018, in a professional preparation program leading to a preliminary teaching credential, if the student commits to working in a high-need field for five years after he or she receives a teaching credential.
- AB 957 (Levine): Higher Education Regional Workforce Coordination to encourage a system of collaboration across education and workforce sectors.