1. California ranks among the top states in per capita expenditures on a number of government programs, but below the national average on expenditures for children’s programs, including education and Medi-Cal. What are your thoughts on this prioritization of expenditures and what, if any, changes would you make in this regard?
There must a higher prioritization of children’s programs in our state budget. If there is a need for funding in these programs it should be met, as I believe children programs yield some of the highest returns on investment that any program can bring.
2. When children who have been neglected or abused enter foster care, the state becomes their legal parent, and bears responsibility for their care and supervision and to ensure they have the opportunity to heal and thrive. What is your position on the need for strengthening the child welfare system?
The child welfare system must be strengthened in the most effective and viable way possible. We must identify areas needing improvement and address them. Understanding that an investment in the healing and success of abused children will have a strong return on investment in the future is essential to ensuring there is a proper amount of funding given to foster care programs.
3. California has a significant shortage of highly-trained and well-supported caregivers to open their homes to children who have been abused and neglected and enter foster care. What strategies would you support, if any, to increase the number of safe and loving families for children in foster care?
I support campaigns to increase public awareness of this shortage and encourage more people to become caregivers. Also maintaining appropriate funding to keep a correct supply of caregivers is essential.
4. California committed state dollars for the first time this year to evidenced-based home visiting programs, yet they will still reach only 2% of families with young children. What are your thoughts on increasing access to evidence-based home visiting? What other strategies, if any, do you support to aid new and expectant parents and young children during this critical phase of life?
I support increasing access to evidence based home visiting. Strategies to support young children may include targeting of families that come from high risk backgrounds, and ensuring there is a strong focus on the negative effects of corporal punishment while providing alternatives.
5. Sixty-two percent of the state’s children are born into low-income households, yet only 14% of income-eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in a publicly-supported child care program. What is your position on this issue, and what, if anything, should be done to ensure that all families have access to high-quality child care?
We must take steps to ensure all eligible households know about the availability of publicly support child care programs and can use them if needed.
6. The average salary of a California public employee is over $81,000. The average salary of a California preschool educator is just over $34,000, and that of a child care provider is just over $26,000. What are your ideas, if any, about responding to this disparity?
The knowledge that an investment in children will pay a strong return on investment in the future should be made known to the public.
7. Students of color are more likely to be suspended and expelled, which contributes to significant achievement gaps and ultimately the pipeline from school to prison. What are your thoughts on how the Legislature should respond to this issue?
Punishments in schools should be tailored to rehabilitation instead of being punitive.
8. Educational research highlights the strong correlation between student success and teacher quality. What changes to state policy would you support, if any, to help ensure that every public school teacher is effective?
Schools should be teaching skills that are well-suited to a students abilities and also valuable in the market economy. The criteria of success of a teacher is difficult to determine, but professional outcomes of a student should be incorporated in any assessment of the quality of a teacher.
9. California nationally ranks 50th in class size, 50th in school librarians, 49th in school counselors and 47th in school administrators. What are your thoughts on these rankings, based on staff to student ratios, and what, if anything, should be done in response?
The focus of reforms in school should be in areas that affect the students life after school. Building a school with effective teaching methods probably needs to include a smaller staff to student ratio. But just as important is the actual material which is being taught. Many students think the material being taught is not suited for them and their careers or just believe the material is completely useless. This problem needs to be addressed as the most important reform needed in schools. The material being taught must be well-received and useful for students in their life and careers otherwise the school is a failure, regardless of anything else. So, I would advocate for lowering this ratio.
10. California has the highest percentage of kids who are dual language learners, ages 0-5, (60%) and school-age English learners (21%) in the country. How will you support these students’ bilingual/multilingual potential? What are your thoughts on how educators in early education and TK-12 can be prepared to assist these students to meet their language development needs?
Schools should resources for bilingual students, such as translators, to ensure a successful educational experience.
11. In the last decade, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs in California grew by 19% and currently represent 7 of the 10 fastest growing occupations. Yet many high schools don’t offer the STEM courses needed for college or STEM careers, such as calculus, physics and chemistry. What are your thoughts on the need to support and increase access to high-quality STEM instruction in our schools?
This is incredibly important, and goes back to my point about reforming the material being taught in schools. If you teach students material that they find useful and interesting this will greatly improve their engagement in school and professional outcomes. STEM, trades, and other in-demand skills should be introduced to school children early on.
12. Over the past 40 years, total state spending on higher education has declined by 6%, dropping from 18% to 12% of the state budget. There are an increasing number of students graduating from high school and eligible for college enrollment. What is your position on funding for public higher education?
Public higher education must be funded at higher levels than current funding levels. Also cost cutting measures must be aggressively pursued in public higher education, with an emphasis on maintaining a high quality educational experience.
13. Over 55% of California’s kids are enrolled in Medi-Cal, but California performs near the bottom amongst all state Medicaid programs when it comes to children’s access to primary care physicians and periodic childhood screenings, especially for children of color. What are your thoughts on this issue?
You need make recipients of Medi-Cal know the importance of these programs and using them as needed.
14. Less than 5% of children eligible for specialty mental health services under the early & periodic screening diagnosis & treatment (EPSDT) Medi-Cal benefit actually receive any service. What is your position on this issue and what, if anything, should be done to ensure that more eligible children receive mental health care?
The parents need to be responsible and knowledgeable enough to understand the importance of mental health. Especially in lower income areas in my district this a huge problem, as mental health is not important at all to many of the families in these areas.
15. Despite the fact that the top reason children miss school in California is due to preventable oral health problems, millions of children in the state lack access to dental services. What is your position on this issue and what, if anything, should be done to address access for children, including 0-5 year olds, to oral health services?
Oral health services need to be made available to young children in need. Funding might be a contentious issue on this problem, but it must be understood this investment will pay strong returns in the future.