Position on PreK-12 Education

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The Issue: 
State or National: 
State
Position in Brief: 

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Support a comprehensive pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade public education system that meets the needs of each individual student; challenges all students to reach their highest potential; develops patterns of lifelong learning and responsible citizenship. Support improvements in public education, based on access with both equitable and sufficient opportunities to learn for all students.

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Support a system of public education funding that is adequate, flexible, equitable, reliable and sustainable; derived from a combination of revenue sources; distributed fairly to support access and equitable opportunities for all students. Support formulating broad general guidelines at the state level, with flexibility at the local level for developing and implementing program.

Details: 

Positions

Equitable Access to Quality Education

  1. The state is ultimately responsible for providing a system of public education.
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  2. Basic educational necessities provided to some students must be provided to all.
  3. The fundamental elements that must be present to create a teaching and learning environment that provides access and equitable opportunity for all children include, but are not limited to:
    1. a safe school environment;
    2. books and instructional supplies;
    3. clean, healthy facilities in good repair, with seating for all students;
    4. fully qualified teachers;
    5. parental involvement;
    6. strong school-site management.

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  4. An effective state system of monitoring and accountability must be present to ensure that all receive basic educational necessities.

    Readiness to Learn

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  5. All children should enter school ready to learn to their fullest potential. Measures to ensure this are:
    1. school readiness programs, including universal access to preschools that are high quality, developmentally appropriate, and voluntary;
    2. outreach to and support for parents of young children to enable parents to contribute to their child's readiness to learn.

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    Curriculum

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  6. There should be joint responsibility for coordinated curriculum planning in which the state develops broad guidelines for a common core curriculum and the local district develops a comprehensive, challenging curriculum that:
    1. includes the state minimum requirements;
    2. meets the needs and challenges the abilities of all students in the district;
    3. reflects priorities set in the local community.

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    Guidelines

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  7. There should be state policies, guidelines, and standards for curriculum that encourage the local districts to:
    1. develop a broad curriculum;
    2. provide for an appropriate range of student abilities and interests;
    3. evaluate feasibility of proposals and effectiveness of curriculum.

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    Program

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  8. There should be educational programs that have sufficient resources to provide all students with:
    1. a command of basic skills;
    2. competence in complex skills;
    3. exposure to a broad common body of knowledge;
    4. an appreciation and respect for one's own cultural heritage and that of others;
    5. sufficient instruction to develop competence in speaking, reading, and writing English;
    6. services needed to ensure a school environment conducive to learning;
    7. a process to identify special needs and provide appropriate services to meet those needs;
    8. a variety of challenging learning opportunities;
    9. preparation for leading productive lives, including responsible citizenship;
    10. the opportunity to graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to choose postsecondary education or immediate entry into gainful employment or both.

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    Assessment

  9. There should be responsibility at the state level for a student assessment system that has as its goal the improvement of the quality of education and student learning with:
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    1. adequate resources, assistance and time to enable schools to improve student learning;
    2. development of appropriate assessment tools that measure basic skills as well as complex skills and reveal exposure to a broad common body of knowledge;
    3. a student assessment system that is timely, accessible, and understandable to teachers, parents, administrators, and the public;
    4. a student assessment system that recognizes and promotes student advancement and growth rather than initiating punitive sanctions.

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    Personnel State Level

  10. Responsibility at the state level for:
    1. developing guidelines for recruiting, training, certifying, and retraining teachers that maintain high standards;
    2. including early and extensive experience in the classroom in the teacher training system;
    3. developing guidelines for evaluation that are fair, rigorous, and frequent with high standards for retraining teachers and with effective procedures for removing ineffective teachers;
    4. allocating sufficient funds to provide adequate and appropriate salaries for teachers and administrators;
    5. maintaining a financially sound teacher retirement system;
    6. regulations governing tenure that permit a fair, rigorous, and frequent evaluation system.

    Local Level

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  11. Responsibility at the local level for:
    1. maintaining high performance standards for teachers and administrators;
    2. implementing a fair, rigorous, frequent evaluation system;
    3. providing opportunities for retraining and professional growth for teachers;
    4. ensuring adequate and appropriate salaries and benefits;
    5. providing a work environment that is conducive to good teaching;
    6. providing incentives for excellence in teaching;
    7. sustaining community support and recognition for educators and education;
    8. providing the appropriate notice and access for the community to the collective bargaining process;
    9. utilizing, when possible, collaborative approaches to collective bargaining.

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    Finance State Level

  12. Responsibility at the state level for:
    1. primary funding of public education, with provision for as much local control as possible over local schools;
    2. providing sustainable, transparent, adequate, flexible, and timely funding derived from a combination of tax sources to ensure all students have the opportunity to achieve state standards;
    3. developing a school finance system that incorporates a multi-year mechanism and enables orderly, timely, effective budgeting and negotiating processes at the local level;
    4. developing a process for forward funding of the educational budget with decisions made in the year before implementation;
    5. equitable distribution of general purpose funds based on student population;
    6. separate and appropriate funding of categorical programs for students with special needs such as Special Education, English Language Learners, and the socio-economically disadvantaged;
    7. limiting the number of programs qualifying for categorical funding to increase flexibility to meet local priorities;
    8. an equitable funding system that encourages local control;
    9. full funding of mandated programs and procedures to avoid encroachment upon the general educational program;
    10. periodic review of state-mandated programs;
    11. a uniform system of budgeting and accounting that is understandable to the public;
    12. opposition to expenditures by the state for vouchers to non-public schools;
    13. measures that make it possible for school districts to seek new revenue locally.

    District Level

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  13. Responsibility at the district level for:
    1. seeking input on educational priorities from all stakeholders, including, but not limited to, school site councils, school board members, principals, teachers, parents, and community organizations;
    2. utilizing available flexibility of funds to meet local priorities.

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    Governance

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  14. There should be a system of educational governance that:
    1. clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of institutions such as the State Board of Education and individuals such as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction responsible for educational governance;
    2. provides clear lines of authority, with accountability:
      1. the state is accountable to its citizens for providing public education to all California students;
      2. the local district is accountable to its community and state for meeting the educational needs of its students.

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      State Level

  15. Responsibility at the state level for:
    1. setting broad education goals and policies;
    2. formulating long range plans for the statewide system;
    3. determining minimum standards and guidelines for evaluating student progress;
    4. a state educational code that defines state responsibilities and allows local decision making;
    5. developing broad guidelines for instructional materials selection;
    6. school building safety standards.

    Local Level

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  16. Responsibility at the local level for:
    1. setting long range community goals and interim objectives;
    2. long range planning for the district;
    3. formulation, implementation, and evaluation of programs;
    4. effective implementation of mandated programs;
    5. developing strategies and methods to improve performance of at-risk students;
    6. involving the community in assessing local educational needs and goals;
    7. working cooperatively with local and/or county agencies to obtain support for school services.

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    Role of the Public

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  17. The public should play a role in public education with:
    1. public access and involvement in decision making provided by state and local educational governance bodies;
    2. parental and community involvement encouraged at the school site level.

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Position History: 

Adopted 1973; Updated 1985, 2005; Readopted at the last convention.