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State of California June 8, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Create a Fully Online Collegiate Educational System

By Steven Paul "Steve" Mozena

Candidate for Governor; Republican Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Close the State of California university and college campuses and create one online-only state university, retaining just two brick-and-mortar anchor colleges, one in Northern California and one in Southern California.
Can we really solve California's fiscal crisis?

Yes. Here's one solution that will save California taxpayers billions of dollars.

Close the State of California university and college campuses and create one online-only state university, retaining just two brick-and-mortar anchor colleges, one in Northern California and one in Southern California.

Transitioning to online education will enable California students to have a better education for less money.

This plan would save California taxpayers billions of dollars and give students a chance to be taught by the best professors in the nation.

With California in dire financial straits, reducing the costs of state university and college systems would be a relief to taxpayers.

Considering the duplication in numerous universities and colleges, reducing administrators, professors and staff would save a lot of money.

Besides being much cheaper, online education offers many advantages over the traditional campus-centered system. It promotes the development of independence and intellectual maturity rather than prolonging childhood by shackling students to a brick and mortar college.

So much of what goes on at the UC campus-based colleges at the moment is impersonal. When classes consist of more than 30 students, and rise to as many as 500 at many state schools, most students don't even speak directly to their professors, either inside or outside of class. Most likely, they are being tutored and graded by teaching assistants.

Online education can change all this, promoting more direct interaction between students and their instructors.

With online education, students can have interactive conversations with the best professors, via a split computer screen, with the professor on one side and on the other the student asking the question from anywhere in the state, like video conferencing.

Imagine what a thrill this will be for the students to be able to interact directly with the most eminent professors in the nation, who will no longer be just famous names on the title page of a book in their school library, but real professors who are available to instruct them and answer their questions.

Why should the best professors be confined only to the elite schools, where only a relative handful of students can benefit from their knowledge and expertise?

There would be no more need for tenure for professors. Mediocre professors could be laid off. Weeding out the lower-performing professors will save the state money.

Of course, for now, there will still be areas of study such as the biological sciences or chemistry that will need laboratories and brick and mortar classroom learning. But there is still plenty of learning to be done outside of labs, so much in these disciplines can be taught online as well.

With Google digitizing whole libraries, university and college libraries could be closed, and cities and counties could also start to consider closing their brick-and-mortar libraries.

It is only a matter of time before electronic books entirely replace traditional books. The traditional library, with thousands of shelves of books taking up large amounts of space and needing large funds to maintain, will be a thing of the past.

In short, in this era of electronic technology, there no longer needs to be a physical location for any college or university. Online education presents an alternative form of education for those who are self-motivated, for stay-at-home parents, for those who need more flexible schedules, and also those who seek greater safety. Students enrolled in online education would be able to earn degrees at all levels, from associate degrees all the way to Ph.Ds, without having to set foot on any campus.

Sure, there are already online universities but nothing is as far-reaching and has the depth and scope of the online universities that I envision, where you would not even put your foot on a college campus.

Times of crisis are also opportunities to think big about we are going and how we can better meet the future.

I hope the citizens will endorse my vision for the future of 21st-century collegiate education in California by writing in my name, Steven Paul Mozena as Governor on June 8, 2010. Then we can move swiftly forward in promoting online education for all.

I am also concerned about the lamentable state of education in California today. My solution to California's educational woes is twofold. First, the school day must be extended to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will not only allow a more thorough learning schedule, it will also reduce the stress on parents and enable them both to hold down full-time jobs.

Second, the school year must be extended. The 180 days kids spend in school is not enough. Research has shown that during the long summer break they forget the knowledge and skills that they learned. Schooling should be year-round.

The introduction of mandatory all-year schooling would address the problem of regression, as well as cultivating life skills. It would also reduce gang activity, some of which arises from boredom.

These are the main lines of my proposal:

  • participation in team sports, right through to the senior year, should be mandatory. Team sports build social skills and the ability to be a team player in other contexts.

  • participation in academic clubs like speech, chemistry or drama would be a must, since these also develop teamwork.

  • a foreign language and culture class to begin in primary school, that teaches Chinese and another language that is new to the student. In other words, if the family speaks Spanish, the kids must learn a language other than Spanish, in addition to English.

  • a business class in which students learn how to write checks and manage their accounts, including how to manage a credit card. They should be taught financial responsibility and financial honesty. In addition, the class should include the skills learned in the business program Junior Achievement.

  • there should also be a life-skills program. This should instruct boys and girls in the fundamentals of good hygiene, good manners, cooking, and home economics. This would also teach the principles of sound nutrition, which would combat the growing obesity among the young.

  • since many students do not know how to study, there would be a mandatory class in study skills. Students need to learn the self-discipline that leads to success.

  • a mandatory outdoor environmental education course, in which students learn about such topics as animals, water, plants, and soil. This would include many of the topics usually covered at summer camps. Not all parents can afford to send their children to camp, but under my proposal, all children would have the same opportunities.

  • starting at nursery school and continuing through 12th grade, there should be physical education courses, including swimming classes from beginner to lifesaver. Athletics, gymnastics and other forms of exercise should also be offered, to promote health and reduce obesity.

  • more emphasis on online learning, making sure there is no digital divide. All children should have computers, and the best and brightest teachers in the state at all grade levels should teach online courses. This would create more equal educational opportunity, enabling students in impoverished school districts to have access to the best minds in the state.

  • mandatory civics or political science class in which students would learn about our political system as well as those of other nations. It would emphasize the necessity of participating in the processes of democracy.

  • the state should maintain a 24-hour study help web site.

  • there should be a yearly comprehensive exam before students are allowed to pass to the next grade level.

  • a review of the pay and benefits packages for teachers, and regular reviews of teacher performance. Teachers should not be underpaid, but they should not be allowed to continue in their jobs if they are performing badly.

I hope Californian educational leaders will support this proposal, which will raise educational standards in the state and produce better citizens.

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