Policy Chats
Policy Chats
Aug 16, 2023
Education Policy: Bridging Opportunity Gaps and Adapting to Change
Play • 35 min

In this episode, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Coachella, Neftali Galarza talks with students from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy about education as a means to break opportunity barriers and how education can adapt amid an ever-changing world.

About Neftali Galarza:

In addition to being Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Coachella, Neftali Galarza is also the Director of the Community Engagement and Partnerships Team within the Riverside County Office of Education. Previously, he served as the Director of Community Outreach for the California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions and was a Board Trustee for the Coachella Valley Unified School District. Neftali completed his B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Labor Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Neftali also holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from California Baptist University.

Learn more about Neftali Galarza via https://www.linkedin.com/in/neftali-galarza-1810a999/

Podcast Highlights:

“The party politics, that doesn't matter when you're a three year old trying to get into preschool or you're a ten year old in elementary school or twelve year old in middle school or fifteen year old in high school. These party politics that are so divisive - they don't matter to these kids. And we need to bring back the conversation centered around the children, not about party politics that we're bringing into our school districts.”

- Neftali Galarza on the topic of how divisive politics can delay necessary reforms to education.

“I grew up in a mobile home park in Oasis, which is in Riverside County. There are to this day, a lot of communities don't have access to potable water... The idea that those students can go to college or go to a workforce, a CT program, and then join the labor union. Through education, you create these opportunities. Now you could jump a few economic ladders. Now you're in a different tax bracket. And that's through education that we have these opportunities to be able to create a community that moves forward, progresses and that we bring everyone together.”

- Neftali Galarza on the topic of the power of education to help communities break socioeconomic barriers.

“And I mentioned it's very important to have paid internships too... I had to take loans to do these internships and I'm paying them off now. I'm grateful that things have worked out for me, but it was a gamble on myself and the organizations that I wanted to intern in for. When we have a paid internship program, we can ensure that a college student isn't working at a fast food restaurant, going to school full time, and then looking for unpaid internship program.”

- Neftali Galarza on the topic of the necessity of paid internships for college students, so they don't have to sacrifice their education for work experience or an income.


Neftali Galarza (Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Coachella)


Rachel Strausman (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Vice Chief Ambassador)

Raiyan Kalam (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Chief Ambassador)

Watch the video version of this episode here: https://youtu.be/CGb_oBVTGCE

Music by:

C Codaine



Commercial Links:



This is a production of the UCR School of Public Policy: https://spp.ucr.edu/

Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Learn more about the series and other episodes via https://spp.ucr.edu/podcast.

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