Statement by California’s Leading Child Advocacy Groups on Budget Standoff
In the face of growing poverty, children’s advocates urge lawmakers to pass state budget now
OAKLAND, CA (September 22, 2010) Enough is enough. California’s state budget is now more than 80 days overdue, marking the record for the longest budget impasse in our state’s history. Today, California’s leading advocacy groups, including Alliance for a Better Community (ABC), Californians for Justice Education Fund, Children Now, Education Trust—West, InnerCity Struggle, and Public Advocates call on state leaders to pass a budget that protects education and provides funding for other critical services for children in poverty and their families.
The record for the overdue budget was accompanied by news from the U.S. Census Bureau of another dismal record for California. For the first time in over a decade, the percentage of Californians living in poverty reached 15.3%. There are now 5.6 million Californians living in poverty.
It is clear the Golden State is suffering from both an economic and governmental crisis. All over our state, services for our neediest citizens are being cut. Millions of children no longer have access to child care centers and local health clinics. At a time when our poorest families need them the most, critical services and supports are being shuttered because of political infighting in Sacramento. Without necessary state funding, school districts across California are barely making it and are being forced to take out loans to cover expenses.
In times of crisis, Californians look to their leaders for responsible decision-making. They also look to their leaders to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our millions of children.
We believe Californians are prepared to make shared sacrifices on behalf of the state’s children. We call on our state’s leaders to end the unproductive blame game and pass a responsible budget that protects education, provides critical services for California’s children and families, and lays the groundwork for a long-term solution to our state’s annual budget woes.
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About Alliance for a Better Community (ABC)
Founded by a group of concerned Latino leaders in the year 2000, ABC promotes equity for Latinos in education, health, economic development and civic participation throughout the Los Angeles region. ABC focuses on improving the quality of life for students, families, and communities by developing solutions to systemic problems through policy and advocacy mechanisms. We fully support policies that will increase the number of students transferring to four-year universities, thereby increasing their earning potential and job marketability.
About Californians for Justice
Californians for Justice is a statewide grassroots organization working for racial justice by building the power of youth, communities of color, immigrants, low-income families, and LGBTQ communities. Led by students, we organize to advance educational justice and improve social, economic, and political conditions in Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, and San Jose. We also organize on a statewide level with the Campaign for Quality Education alliance and a national level with the Alliance for Educational Justice.
About Children Now
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children’s well-being to the top of the national policy agenda. The organization focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children. Children Now’s strategic approach creates awareness of children’s needs, develops effective policy solutions and engages those who can make change happen.
About The Education Trust—West
The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, kindergarten through college, and to forever close the achievement gaps separating low-income students and students of color from other youth. Our basic tenet is this— All children will learn at high levels when they are taught to high levels.
About InnerCity Struggle
InnerCity Struggle has worked with youth, families and community residents for the past sixteen years to promote safe, healthy and non-violent communities in the Eastside. We organize youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights to work together for social and educational justice. InnerCity Struggle provides positive after-school programs for students to become involved in supporting our schools to succeed. We have empowered students to reach their family’s dream of college. The work of InnerCity Struggle demonstrates that youth and parents working together are a powerful force for improving their communities and making real change. InnerCity Struggle has also educated and empowered thousands of Eastside voters to be heard at the ballot box on critical issues impacting our communities.
About Public Advocates
Public Advocates Inc. (publicadvocates.org) is a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing and transit equity.