Proposition 13: A Missed Opportunity for California’s Young People
While votes are still being tallied, it appears that the largest school facility bond in state history will fall short of the simple majority needed despite bipartisan support and little formal opposition. Proposition 13 would have provided California’s schools, public universities, and community colleges with a much needed $15 billion in bonds to upgrade facilities and build new ones. More importantly, the bond measure would have supplied the facilities and renovations needed to ensure students are learning in educational settings conducive to the meaningful, relevant, and hands-on experiences that are essential for success in college and the high-demand careers of California’s changing economy.
Across the state, hundreds of thousands of students are engaging in these types of experiences through Linked Learning. Students learn through career-themed pathways tied to local industry sectors, in subjects ranging from the arts to high-tech engineering, gaming and design, and IT. Each pathway joins together college-preparatory academics; a challenging program of study in career technical education that meets industry standards; the chance for students to apply classroom learning through work-based or other real-world experiences in their communities; and integrated student supports that meet individual development needs, skills, strengths, interests, and aspirations.
Research shows that students enrolled in high-quality Linked Learning pathways outperform their peers in traditional high school programs in a number of important ways, including greater achievement and persistence in school. Proposition 13 was a missed opportunity to invest in the facilities that make this proven approach to college and career preparation possible for more students.
If we want to make learning mean more for our state’s young people, then we need to ensure students have opportunity to discover their passions in high-quality, safe, and stimulating learning environments. Everyone benefits when we connect the classroom and the real world. The Linked Learning field, which includes dozens of school districts across the state and supports hundreds of thousands of California’s young people, looks forward to seizing the next opportunity to go above and beyond when laying out a new vision for transforming our educational environments into learning spaces that promote equity and excellence for all.