Key to Tomorrow's Jobs

California's economy can no longer afford public
schools without technology. Technology plays an increasingly
important part in our work and home lives. We use technology to
organize and retrieve information, to write, to analyze and even
to design. Even entry-level positions currently require some
awareness of computers. Indeed, California's future economic
competitiveness depends on all workers having a solid grounding
in technology. Over 90% of all jobs created in the next decade
will require education beyond high school. Public schools will
prepare the vast majority of that workforce. With such demands
for technological understanding, public schools must begin pre
paring young people to live in a technologically sophisticated

We now stand at a crossroad for building technology
into our schools. The Clinton Administration has focused the
nation's attention and resources on building the National Infor
mation Infrastructure, popularly known as the "Information Super
highway," and giving each school an "on-ramp." Here in Califor
nia, we have developed and will continue refining a master plan
for educational technology. I have authored legislation to
ensure that we begin building and rebuilding schools with the
wiring needed for computers and other types of educational tech
nology. I also have worked with leading technology companies to
help provide the money to wire our schools.

Just ahead, we face the next step -- if we have the
courage to take it. The key question is: "Will California meet
the challenge?" Will our schools offer the on-ramps to the
electronic superhighway, or will our status as 50th in the nation
in per-pupil spending for technology doom the majority of our
young people to a permanent information underclass? John Kennedy
once said: "We go to the moon not because it is easy, but because
it is hard." Just because our task is difficult does not mean it
is not worth doing.

As the next Superintendent, I will take that next step
-- making technology a part of everything we do as educators.
Technology provides a critical tool for the fundamental reshaping
of public schools I plan to accomplish. We must transform our
public schools into community centers for technology. Our public
schools can provide each community its "on-ramp" to the Informa
tion Superhighway, ensuring all communities equity of access to
information from around the world.


WIRING. Most of California's schools are not equipped to
use technology because they lack the necessary wiring. I have
carried legislation to make the wiring of all schools -- new and
old -- a top priority.

HARDWARE. We have just begun to install the necessary
computers, wiring and printers. California still ranks last in
computers per student. Every student must have regular access to
information technology, integrated into a variety of classes --
from math to biology to art. Audio visual equipment, fax ma
chines and other technological tools, like telephones, must be
readily available.

SOFTWARE. Schools will need far more than simply hardware.
We must develop software that: a) integrates technology into all
that we do as educators; b) makes learning relevant and engaging;
c) adjusts to each student's needs and pace of learning; and d)
challenges students to think and solve problems with information
acquired by links to the Information Superhighway.

TRAINING. If we expect our students to apply technology, we
must start with our teachers. A basic standard for new teachers
will be understanding how to apply technology in the classroom
and the workplace. We also must arrange large-scale training for
the many teachers who began teaching before technology played
such an integral role in our lives. We can then set the stan
dards for teachers understanding of technology.


STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP. As Superintendent, I will set the
tone for technology leadership. I now have an electronic mailbox
on the Internet, which will continue when I am Superintendent. I
will enhance the technology efforts of the Department of Educa
tion. The Department will work with schools and the technology
industry to develop uniform standards for school hardware, cut
ting-edge software that fulfills the practical needs of teachers,
and the large-scale training programs for teachers across the

PARTNERSHIPS. Neither the state nor local schools can
accomplish these ambitious goals alone. I will coordinate the
efforts of the many public agencies with technology resources
that schools may use. More importantly, I will work with large,
technology-rich corporations and small, local computer-oriented
businesses, who can provide the expertise and financial support
that will ensure California's educational technology meets the
needs of their future employees. While the large corporations
may work throughout California, even small computer shops can
"adopt" a local school.

DIVERSITY OF FUNDING. In order to pay for this substantial
undertaking, we will call on a large number of resources. The
federal government recently created an Office of Educational
Technology to focus resources on pushing schools into the comput
er age. Defense conversion funds also can provide support for
ramping up our schools' technology. The state, of course, will
contribute, as will local governments, foundations and business
es. If we make our schools true community resources for technol
ogy, available to other community members outside school hours,
then we can charge those community users to defray some of the
costs of investing in technology.


LIFELONG LEARNING. Building computers and the Information
Superhighway into the way we teach will give young people the
skills and appreciation for continuing to learn throughout their

EQUITY OF ACCESS. By establishing our schools as community
technology centers, we make information from around the world
available to all of California's diverse communities.

STANDARDS. Setting high standards for technology in our
schools will foster higher standards for learning. Computers
allow teachers to test and diagnose each student's strengths and
weaknesses, and then allow efficient recordkeeping of each stu-
dent's progress.

SAFETY. Introducing telephones in each classroom, cameras
in hallways and computerized alarm systems where appropriate also
increases the safety on our campuses.

PRODUCTIVITY. Administrators and clerical support staff,
teachers and aides must learn to make better use of information
services. Grading, attendance, accounting, inventory control and
maintenance scheduling, to name a few, all can be improved with
the comprehensive integration of information management into
school services.


return to the main page

The material included in this voter guide is archived and will not be updated. Please visit the California Voter Foundation's homepage for the most current information and resources.

California Voter Foundation 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 & 1998