December 10, 2023

I am the beneficiary of a world-class public K-12, community college, and University of California education, which gave me everything I needed to get ahead despite coming from a working-class, immigrant family. But with housing prices soaring and poverty rates in California leading the nation, I am worried that a good public education has become something only accessible to wealthy families. Even worse, is that after 40 years of disinvestment, our public schools now rank near the bottom of all states in education funding.

Moreover, while public education makes up about half of California’s budget, our state lags behind the rest of the nation on per-pupil spending, and the US News and World Report ranks our Pre-K-12 education system 38th in the nation, with the following breakdown:

  • #35 College Readiness
  • #29 High School Graduation Rate
  • #38 NAEP Math Scores
  • #29 NAEP Reading Scores
  • #36 Preschool Enrollment

My goals for California’s education system are:

  • Reform Proposition 13 so that corporations like Disneyland pay their fair share in property taxes, which could generate more than $14.5 billion a year to fund education all without raising taxes on homeowners or renters.
  • COLA increases for the LCFF funding formula, including more funding for BIPOC and marginalized/immigrant communities and students to address subpar test scores for certain students.
  • Right now, funding for K-12 schools is allocated using the Local Control Funding Formula, which determines how much each school gets per student based on attendance (referred to as some by the “butts in seats” formula), rather than enrollment. I believe enrollment is a better indicator of how to fund our schools.
  • Scale up College Corps tutoring, which offers financial aid to college students for tutoring K-12 students, and eliminate wasteful overhead spending in this program.
  • Teachers need a raise, including special education teachers
    • Cal State University faculty are enduring a broken pay structure and need a 12% raise
    • The poorest and parenting faculty are making less than K-12 teachers
    • Expand Paid Leave programs for educators and faculty
  • I support broad student debt cancellation and forgiveness programs to address the broken student lending system, which oftentimes offers no consumer protections and capitalizes interest into the principal with exorbitant interest rates that make student loans a life sentence.
  • Early literacy is abysmal in California. The Governor and legislature have committed resources to establish transitional Kindergarten and fund literacy coaches in poor schools as well as create incentives for teaching, but we need to do more. We don’t collect data on reading development until 3rd grade and could also implement early screening for learning disabilities.
  • Community college enrollment has cratered since 2020 and is the lowest it has been in 30 years. We need to invest in recruitment and enrollment in California’s fantastic community colleges.
  • I am not opposed to charter schools, but believe they should comply with the same laws as traditional schools, as they currently operate less transparently than traditional public schools and take advantage of looser regulations.


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Paid for by Alex Mohajer for State Senate 2024. FPPC #1459000.
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