Families are the basic building block of society. We need to heal broken homes by including extended family, offering family counseling, conflict resolution, and help from existing local organizations, not just the government. Our taxes and laws need to promote parental responsibility and family unity.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
There are many issues for children and families, and it is difficult to say which are the top three, but these three are very important: 1 Too many children come from broken homes or single parent homes. It is difficult to raise children as a single parent. 2 Children and their families need to value education and need access to it. 3 Deprived children need better nutrition. Their physical and intellectual development, as well as health, requires proper nutrition.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Every child deserves an education that prepares them for today’s dynamic economy. Because California’s students should be taught by the very best, we will pay good teachers more, offer additional training to the ones that need it, and invest more in proven programs. I believe a healthier population, particularly in disadvantaged communities, benefits all Californians. We should give people more healthcare options and reorient the system toward preventative medicine. The health of children begins with nutrition, such as school breakfasts and lunches with fresh CA fruits and vegetables. California parks should be part of a comprehensive view of healthy lifestyles.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
State and local government can make it less bureaucratic and expensive for day care businesses to permit and build, and have reasonable overtime employment rules for day care workers. We should encourage home day care centers with proper oversight. We should incentivize CA business to aid with child care so that parents can work and know that their children have care. Some aspects of day care need to be handled at the city and county level, such as after school day care in schools, or transitional day care for children while parent seek employment training or overcome homelessness.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
We need to support the local school districts in educating those with extraordinary needs. We should provide incentives for people to enter special education and allow both full and part time work in the field. Employers must accommodate time off for those with special needs children. We need to explore alternative environments, options that are creative and economical, as an option for those with special needs and disabilities, similar to home day care centers. Further, we need to avail ourselves of modern software tools and computer learning as appropriate.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
It is said that your health is 60% determined by what you eat. Poor nutrition is the first thing we need to address. Existing food programs and subsidies should encourage fresh CA fruits and vegetables grown by our farmers, including school breakfasts and lunches, and community pantry programs. The health of our children begins with nutrition. There is no excuse for malnutrition in CA children. Our CA farmers produce one quarter of our nation's food.