Gubernatorial Candidates Differ on Schools

News Editor

The contest for California’s governorship has been a closely fought race for both Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown. Topics such as immigration reform, taxation and the environment have been debated by both candidates on television, as well as radio.
To AHS students, however, these issues take the back burner when the topic of education comes into discussion. Teacher layoffs, class terminations and extracurricular funding cuts are just a few of the worries that students must contend with during their time in public school. How will a new governor extricate us from the already dire education situation in California?
“The state’s budget problems will make it hard for anything to be changed,” said senior Ming Yue. “The new governor is going to have a [challenging] time getting legislation passed.”
Both prospective governors wish to improve the quality of schools in California. Both have widely different methods of achieving this. Meg Whitman has proposed redirecting more money to the Universities of California (UC) and California State Universities (CSU) systems. Jerry Brown states that he will focus on the CSUs and community colleges.
For high schools, each candidate proposes opposing solutions to the problems the state faces. Whitman wishes to extend the voucher system and allow parents to easily remove their children from failing schools. Brown hopes to institute a stricter standardized testing system and provide more opportunities for advancement.
“Whitman is capitalizing on her status as a political outsider and CEO to win votes,” said AP American Government teacher Johnnie Lau. “Brown is banking on his experience as former governor and public servant to appeal to voters.”
According to Lau, however, the governorship is not the only platform to engage in education reform. State legislature and the superintendent of education also play a role in the changing policy in public school districts.
Although the gubernatorial candidates would not be able to directly dictate the measures added on to bills, the new governor will wield enormous power in deciding whether or not a piece of legislation will become law.