A suggestion for my friends on the left: before you install a single-payer health care system for California, have you considered enacting an effective single-payer system for education first?

You might say the public school system in California is single-payer. But you’d be wrong. For one thing, it doesn’t really cover everybody. And not just because so many Californians leak into private or parochial or home schools, or don’t get educated at all.

The system isn’t properly funded to provide an adequate education to all. Gov. Brown and many others have acknowledged that reality. The school year and school day are far shorter than the needs of students trying to deal with the complicated challenges and economic expectations of the 21st century. The funding system for education is so meager that we have massive education rationing. And to make up the difference, schools and school districts routinely have to resort to private fundraising campaigns.

It’s in the power of the left, which now controls California politics, to fix this. With two-thirds in the legislature, Democrats could remake the tax structure to produce revenue, and they could refashion the broken constitutional funding mechanism for education, with voter approval. With more funding, they could also improve the quality of the education, and transform schools to meet today’s needs.

Starting with education single-payer would have a political advantage. One reason I wouldn’t support single-payer now – beyond the unseriousness of the current proposal, with lack of funding mechanism – is because such a system would inevitably require cuts in the schools. So making the education system more robust and solid first would make it possible to then turn attention to health care.

Without doing education first, single-payer health care looks like a massive transfer of wealth away from the future and California citizens of tomorrow in favor of the relatively well-off health professionals and older Californians of today.

You want single payer? Schools first.