California Online Voter Guide 2000 - A Project of the California Voter Foundation
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Archive of Campaign Promises

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Jim Battin (R)

California State Senate, District 37

These statements are shown exactly as they appeared at in November 2000

Jim Battin on Education

"We can improve schools by raising standards for students and teachers, holding schools and administrators accountable for student performance and ensuring students are proficient in math, science and computer skills and are able to read, write and speak English.

Schools must be safe -- According to a recent study, 64 percent of school districts reported an increase in violence. At the same time, 23 percent of students and 11 percent of teachers were victims of violence. We need to enforce a zero tolerance policy for violence on campus. In the State Assembly, I supported AB 1366, a bill that would have created a statewide Violence Prevention and Response task force for our schools. I believe we must continue to fight hard to tackle this threat. Our schools must be safe - We owe it to our children.

Raise academic standards -- We must expect more from our students. California is below the national average in math and English - and in 23 of 45 other education categories. Colleges are feeling it too - 21 percent of all CSU freshmen need remedial math and 18 percent need remedial English. Our children deserve high standards for English, math, science, computer science and history - and we must require that students meet the new standards before graduation. During a special session of the legislature, I supported SBX1 2, a bill that implemented this idea, and that measure is now law. Thanks to this bold new law, every high school student will have to meet comprehensive testing standards before graduating from any California high school.

Ensure California children learn to read, write and speak English -- We need to continue to reform the failed bilingual education system by enforcing Proposition 227 and tightening loopholes that allow the State superintendent to grant bilingual waivers to entire schools or districts. Nearly 1.3 million (23 percent) of the students in California schools cannot read, write of speak English effectively.

Zero tolerance for drugs -- Drug use is contributing to increased violence, lower grades and more health problems. One in six students uses alcohol or marijuana regularly and 26 percent of all crimes at school are related to drugs or alcohol. We need tougher penalties and zero tolerance for the use, sale or possession of illegal drugs in schools or at school events.

Dramatically reduce truancy -- Nearly one in 20 high school students are skipping school every day -- and 10 percent of students will drop out entirely. We must forge new partnerships with local police, parent-teacher organizations and schools to reduce truancy and keep kids in school. Additionally, I have authored AB 782, which would empower our local school boards to adopt their own truancy policies. So many of our schools are stifled by rampant absences, local school boards must have the tools to combat the problem.

Attract the best teachers -- California needs approximately 227,000 new teachers by the year 2007. We need to encourage college students to pursue teaching by offering state scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs to attract the best and brightest new teachers.

Ensure teacher competence -- We need over 227,000 new teachers, but we need teachers competent in their subject matter. A 1997 report by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future reported that one-half of all science and mathematics teachers did not major or even minor in their subject matter. Teachers must pass subject matter examinations for credential and assignment to teach particular subjects.

During the 1999 special legislative session on education, I supported ABX1 27, calling for a major reevaluation of the California Basic Education Skills Test, the exam every prospective teacher in California must pass in order to receive a teaching credential. A state commission is reviewing the exam, and soon California will have modern, challenging testing standards for teachers.

Measure progress -- We need to continue to measure progress of the system as well as individual schools with statewide standardized testing. And we need public review of results by publishing them on the Internet so communities can see how their local schools are doing, and hold them accountable.

It's working in El Paso, where schools developed academic standards and the skills students needed at each grade level. They then applied the standards to statewide tests to measure progress. It worked: students passing basic standards tests went from 29 percent to 53 percent in just one year. And of the 326 poor performing schools, 90 percent have increased their performance to "acceptable" or better and only one school failed to perform after three years.

More school, fewer leaks -- 50 percent of California's schools are over 30 years old and don't meet basic safety and earthquake standards. The California Legislative analyst reports that California must build one new classroom a day to keep pace with projected growth. That's why we need to see that Prop 1A - California's recently passed $9.2 billion school initiative - is put on track and kept there.

Expand class size reduction -- One of the best educational reforms the legislature passed recently was, SB 50, reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to 20 students maximum. In these critical grades teachers now can provide more individualized, one-on-one instruction - and spend much less time on crowd control. We need to do more. We must expand class size reduction to more grades, giving all our children this advantage. I sought to address this issue with AB 783, a bill I joint-authored, that would have reduced middle school class sizes in math and English to 20 students per classroom, and provided the proper funding for it. I will continue fighting for class size reductions in all grades - our children's education is at stake."

Jim Battin on the Environment

"A healthy environment can go hand-in-hand with a strong economy. In fact, protecting our natural resources is critical for the future of California.

Protect drinking water from contamination -- About 30% percent of the drinking water used locally comes from ground water. The rest of the water comes from the Colorado River and Northern California. We need to protect our water supply by strictly enforcing rules against dumping toxic trash, sewage and other items.

That's why I authored AB 1180, the 1998 Safe Drinking Water Bond Act. The fund provided in this bill would have brought California into line with federal drinking water standards and allowed us to dramatically reduce groundwater contaminants such as MTBE and perchloric acids by providing a $76 million for improvements in storage units and treatment plants.

Protect beaches and parks -- The coastline and diverse desert habitats are two of our greatest treasures. We must do everything we can to maintain their beauty, not only for us, but for generations to come.

Save the Salton Sea -- Restoring the Salton Sea to it's natural splendor is a crucial piece of Riverside and Imperial Counties' environmental stability. We must protect the Salton Sea from pollution and depletion, and make sure future generations will have the chance to enjoy it.

Expand the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy -- This vital natural habitat is one of the centerpieces of our region, and we must continue to fight for it's preservation.

Implement a workable water transfer that protects all parties -- Water transfer issues have been hotly debated in the 37th Senate District for a long time - but it's very important to all members of our community that we protect the recent agreement that recognizes everyone's rights and concerns, and delivers us the quality water we need. I've been involved in this issue a very long time, and I'll work to ensure we get that kind of an agreement and finally resolve this long-simmering issue.

Support the Park and Water Bond -- Earlier this year, the Legislature passed AB 18, of which I was the principle co-author, a measure that will put a $2 billion general obligation bond on the March 2, 2000 Primary Election Ballot. Parks and water resources have traditionally been an integral part of California's culture and infrastructure - but policymaker's commitment to them has waned in the last decade. Protecting our parks and water is a vital part of California's resource preservation. We need to pass the park bond and ensure California's crucial environmental needs are met.

Common Sense Environmental Policy -- In California, we need to stress that our environmental policies should be based on 'scientifically verifiable evidence' - not emotion and misinformation. I will push to make all environmental testing and data gathering based on common sense and good science."

Jim Battin on Jobs and the Economy

"Preserve Jobs and Improve Local Economy:

Keep taxes low -- Only five states have higher business taxes than California. We need to stop tax increases and offer incentives for long-term economic development - like expanding carry forward and carry back tax credits for businesses who invest in new technology or manufacturing equipment.

Reduce electricity rates -- Electricity costs in California are 50 percent higher than neighboring states - a disadvantage when trying to retain or attract new jobs and business. We must ensure that California's utility deregulation stays on track.

Support local Business -- Tourism generates over $4.7 billion for the economy, thanks to places like Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the Coachella Valley's golf courses and the beach, to name a few. We need to fight to protect local business and fight regulations that would harm it."

Jim Battin on Traffic and Transportation

"Multi-Government Cooperation -- Reducing traffic expansion and repairing roads and highways is critical to improving our quality of life. In the Assembly, I've worked closely with Assemblywoman Charlene Zettel and Senator Dave Kelley to ensure improvements on critical local traffic issues - but we must do more. Coping with an issue as complex as traffic means bringing together a variety of local, state and federal officials to solve the real traffic problems we all face today. As a State Senator, I'll work to build consensus and increase government cooperation so that we can all spend less time sitting in traffic.

Critical roads and highways -- In the Assembly, I've fought hard and expedited critical improvements on highway I-15, totaling $14.5 million just this year. This is a major accomplishment for traffic problems in our region, and I'll continue to work for more traffic reforms to better serve commuters. We need to continue this and other efforts throughout the area, such as improvements for highways 52 and 56 that are vital to our quality of life, by working together with state and local officials to fix "problem areas" and other areas before they become a problem.

Make roads safe, not just less congested -- It will mean very little if we all move faster on our highways unless we do it safely. That's why I support investing in road safety projects for our dangerous roads and highways, so that all drivers will be safer and more secure behind the wheel."

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star image This page first published April 13, 2001 -- last updated April 13, 2001 star image