California is holding a gubernatorial election this year. Three candidates lead the field. Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles and a strong supporter of privatizing public schools; Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco and noncommittal on privatization; and John Chiang, State Treasurer and advocate of charter accountability, is a strong supporter of public schools.

If no candidate wins a majority, the two top candidates will face one another in a runoff.

The Network for Public Education Action Fund enthusiastically endorses John Chiang for Governor.

When John Chiang responded to our survey, he emphasized his support for good public schools for all students.

When we asked John what he would do if elected, he said the following:

“I plan to restore academic success by increasing per-pupil funding, reducing class sizes, and moving towards providing free tuition for two years of community college. We also need to address underlying factors that have put stress on our education system– – an unfair economy that has left the middle class behind; the inability of students and families to afford textbooks, supplies, food and housing; threats in Washington to public education, affordable health care, financial aid, and more. We need to do everything possible to look holistically at ways to improve our education system so every student has an opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

John is concerned about the effects of high-stakes testing on students. He told us, “We’ve seen what damage “high-stakes” testing can do to our students, teachers and schools, especially in unfairly labeling students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners as failing. ‘Teaching to the test’ often forces good instructional practices to be thrown out for a soulless stream of worksheets based on boring, repetitive test prep materials. That’s not what we want for our kids. We need to use tests more sensibly, move beyond test-based accountability measures, and provide teachers with the training and support they need to help our students achieve.”

John is a strong proponent of charter accountability and transparency. He believes that charter schools must be responsible to locally elected school boards, subject to public audits and the Brown Act, and be held to state conflict of interest standards.

He is also clear in his opposition to vouchers. “We cannot rob our public schools to line the pockets of private school owners. I oppose the use of vouchers and tax credits for private and parochial schools. We need to continue to invest in our public schools and focus on supporting certified teachers and students as they strive to instill and learn the skills needed for a successful 21st century education.”

For all of the above positions and more, we believe that John is the strongest friend of public education remaining in the California Governor’s race. We strongly urge Californians to vote for John Chiang in the June 5th primary. Voter registration ends May 21 and mail in ballots must must arrive by May 29, 2018.