California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari released his education plan on Tuesday which would turn the state’s current system on its ear with money reallocated from districts to schools and the promise of free tuition to students in exchange for money back down the road.
The plan, 33 pages in length, is a cornerstone of Kashkari’s attempt to unseat incumbent Governor Jerry Brown.
California students rank in the bottom five among states in math and reading test scores. Kashkari, formerly with the U.S. Treasury, would also do away with a limit on the number of charter schools allowed in the state, said California needs bold changes according to an article written by Juliet Williams of The Associated Press, as covered by The Modesto Bee.
“There is a role for the district, there is a role for the state in this oversight, but the decision making and the control and the authority should be in the hands of the teachers and the parents at the individual school site,” Kashkari said.
Other changes in his plan include bonuses for teachers based on student achievement and longer school days. For the higher education circuit, Kashkari would require the University of California and California State University systems to put 20% of their courses up for online education within a four-year span, according to an article by Seema Mehta of The Los Angeles Times.
The state would also start a scholarship fund that would negate tuition for students majoring in math, engineering, science or technology with the caveat of receiving an undetermined percentage of their future salaries as compensation.
The California Teachers Association (CTA) has already cast its endorsement behind Gov. Brown, whose plan is to use a bulk of funds to help students most at risk to drop out of school or not graduate. The CTA donated $5 million in political contributions to Brown’s 2010 election campaign. Upon taking office in 2011, Brown fired seven members of the state’s Board of Education.
Kashkari has accused Brown of growing complacent in his education plan, and states that his ideas will take apart income inequality and increase the academic achievements of inner-city and minority students. California is home to three of the country’s Top 10 cities in income inequality: Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco.
Of course, to get his plan even considered, Kashkari must first make it through the June 3 primary. California is one of just three states in the Union where the top two vote-getters in the gubernatorial primary, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election in November.
As of April 15, a poll by Real Clear Politics, had Kashkari running a distance fourth behind Brown and two other Republican contenders.