After years in the shadows as lieutenant governor, Newsom is back in his element shaping and making policy, this time not for one city but for the most populous state in the nation.
Whether it's clamping down on charter schools or changing teacher tenure, candidates can say a lot more than they can actually do.
Advocates challenge the next governor to do more to make college affordable.
In contrast, the Republican candidates oppose providing state-subsidized preschool for all California 4-year-olds.
Periodically over the past century, state boards of education, governors and state superintendents have clashed over who should be setting education policy in California.
The leading candidate for governor also said he supports Jerry Brown's proposal to tie community college funding to student outcomes.
Preschool teachers paid about half of what kindergarten teachers make.
Early education advocates are encouraged by budget discussions.