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Introducing The Series, 'California Policies'

Christian Patterson |
May 10, 2013 | 9:34 a.m. PDT


Editor's note: This is the introduction to Christian Patterson's new series, "California Policies."

As California goes, so goes the nation. (Didi Beck)
As California goes, so goes the nation. (Didi Beck)

California has long been viewed as a bellwether for the rest of the nation. On issues ranging from environmental protection to civil rights, it has fostered policy innovations that have spread throughout the country. So, it is only fitting that a series on California policy begins with education reform, a topic of the utmost importance to the future of the Golden State and the rest of the union.

As California’s educational outcomes have declined, so have results in the other 49 states, giving a much darker meaning to the phrase “as California goes, so goes the nation.”

Everyone has heard the oft-repeated calls for a U.S. comeback in STEM education and the graduation of more college students in order to catch up to Europe and China. What does not receive press coverage and the boisterous rhetoric of politicians is the impact that a faltering education system has on disadvantaged and working class families.

Study after study confirms a truth that we all know: education is the gateway to a burgeoning middle class, and a strong middle class forms the bedrock of democracy and the catalyst for prosperity. Just as the G.I. Bill powered a post-war economic boom by sending hundreds of thousands of Americans to college, the U.S. needs new educational polices geared toward jump-starting a sputtering economy.

Fortunately for the rest of the country, California’s policymakers may have the remedy for our national educational stagnation.


Read the first installment of "California Policies," an introduction to the Career Pathways program, here.

Reach Columnist Christian Patterson here; follow him here.



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