Governor Gray Davis - Digital Library
tree vista

Education: K-12

In 1998, Gov. Davis promised to "revive the sense of unlimited possibility and common purpose that once made California the envy of the world."

California has led the nation in raising academic standards for all students in public schools. Our schools are more accountable. Teachers are better trained. A college education is more accessible.

Most importantly, test scores are up five years in a row, even as tests are now based on tougher academic standards.

Historic School Reform

Declaring education his "first, second and third priority," the Governor called the Legislature into a special session on school reform on his third day in office.

That session produced results founded on the bedrock of standards and accountability. Schools that get results are rewarded. Schools that don't are held to task.

  • New Reading Programs - created new reading programs to ensure that every child in California can read with confidence by the age of 9.
  • School Accountability is accessible to parents and communities - established California's first statewide accountability program, including an Academic Performance Index (API) that measures and publicly reports annual school performance.
  • A High School Exit Exam - for the first time ever, required an exit exam for California's high school students.

Schools bonds

In 2001, Governor Davis chaired the successful "Yes on 39" ballot initiative campaign, which makes it easier for local communities to pass school bonds by lowering the vote requirement to 55 percent.

In 2002, he signed legislation placing $25 billion in state school construction and modernization bonds on two general election ballots.

Qualified teacher in every classroom

At the heart of Governor Davis' Higher Expectations approach is a qualified teacher in every classroom. In 2000, he implemented the largest and most aggressive package of teacher incentives offered anywhere in America.

It included:

  • $20,000 teaching fellowships to attract our brightest college students. These fellowships are supported through the state's expanded loan assumption program (APLE).
  • Bonuses for veteran teachers at lower performing schools who earn national board certification.
  • Increased salaries for beginning teachers.
  • The most rigorous professional development program in America for teachers and the largest principal training program in the nation.