Forty years ago California voters approved Proposition 13, a bill designed to help homeowners avoid huge property tax bills. Unfortunately, it extended the same protection to corporations, creating a $9 billion loophole. If we want to improve the woeful state of our public education system, we need to close this loophole.
Doing so can bring back badly needed services and increase our national education ranking. California used to be one of the top-ranked schools in the nation. The state spent $11,495 per pupil in 2016. That’s 23rd in the nation and just below the $11,762 average.
The Democratic Party of California is dedicated to equal education for all residents, but this will not happen without money. Lack of resources increases our class sizes; it takes away money for special education, physical education, and the arts, as well as for teaching basic skills such as reading and math. It is established fact that if you want to spend less on prisons, you spend more on education. California also needs to support its community colleges and state universities.
Money spent on education for our young people comes back to us in prison savings and increased tax dollars. California's community colleges and state universities are also in need of increased funding. It is important to support the students who are trying to put "College for All" on the November 2018 ballot. These students are inspired by Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign proposal to provide free higher education for all. The plan is to reinstate the Estate Tax (which was eliminated in 2005). This tax will pay for 2.6 million students to get a free college education, an investment in human resources that will positively affect California for years and years.
In addition, California needs to spend the necessary money on wraparound services in our poorer communities. These services should include tutoring for all grade levels, help with children under the age of four and in preschool, additional English-language classes, and general family communication. California's wealthier communities support their schools with private fundraisers and annual donations, creating a huge gap between wealthy and poor schools.
We need to bring public education back to its original function as the great equalizer. When our population is educated, many of our systemic social issues will be addressed by an informed citizenry.