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Image of the Capitol in Washington DC. Photo Credit: Marisa Messina

Why I Teach California Policy & Politics

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Image of the Capitol in Washington DC. Photo Credit: Marisa Messina


Almost everyone knows the name of their US Senators but few know the name of their State Senator even though, at least in California, the State Senator has more influence over their daily lives.  That’s because, under our federalist form of government, states provide the lion’s share of domestic services. When it comes to education, health care, transportation, employment laws, and much more, states are the most critical actors.

For example, states this year will spend $600 billion on public K-12 education --10 times more than the federal government and 100 times more than charities.  California alone will spend more than $80 billion and host six million students. The governor and the 120 members of the state legislature run that enterprise. They determine where money is deployed and the rules under which public schools operate. In a world in which world-class educations are more critical than ever to getting ahead in life, little matters more than how governors and state legislators run public education systems.

I teach California Policy & Politics because citizens should pay close attention to how their states are being governed and I expect some of my students will govern states at some point in the future.

David Crane

Lecturer in Public Policy

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