ONTARIO, Calif. (KABC) -- There were two empty podiums on stage at the Gubernatorial Education Forum in Ontario for the frontrunners in the race - Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox.
In addition to not being in attendance, Newsom and Cox didn't submit opening statements. When the crowd booed, candidate John Chiang said, "Don't boo for me. I'm here."
Former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, added, "I've been to every single debate. I haven't missed one."
The forum was hosted by the California State PTA and with parents and teachers in the audience, almost all the questions were about education.
"I don't support vouchers, but I do support public charters and I do because we need to incubate best practices in our schools. As I said, bring more technology into the classroom," Villaraigosa said.
Agreeing with the former mayor of L.A. for a change on the topic of charter schools, the only Republican in attendance was Travis Allen.
"I'm not only in favor of charter schools. I'm in favor of anyone who wants to homeschool their child. California's parents must be given a choice to send their kids to the very best school, whether it's traditional, charter, or even home school," Allen said.
Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Villaraigosa and Allen went back and forth on how to reform our education system and where we should invest, with childhood early education being a focus for the Democrats.
"We have one prison guard for every two prisoners. But, we've got the biggest class sizes in America. Ladies and gentleman, it's time to reduce class sizes and maybe we'll let the prison guards have less people there and get more done so they don't go to jail," Eastin said.
Gubernatorial forum focuses on CA's education system as Newsom, Cox are absent from debate
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