Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2022
Contact: Mariel Matze, [email protected], 650-380-1973 

 

Oakland, CA — Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, issued the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposal for 2022-2023:

The state budget is about more than tax revenue and allocating funding: it’s about values and meeting a moment. Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, students’, families’, and educators’ lives are still constrained, complicated, and pained by academic, social-emotional, economic, and health challenges. And while the pandemic has touched each of our lives profoundly, it has hit those already shut out of opportunity far harder. We all know that this moment is historic; meeting it would mean a similarly historic transformation of our education systems. Governor Newsom’s proposal approaches a reenvisioning of those systems in several important ways.

Early Learning and Care

The additional child care slots and support for care providers Governor Newsom proposes could rejuvenate an early learning and care landscape hit hard by the pandemic. However, California’s youngest learners of color and those impacted by poverty deserve a budget that goes even further in expanding access and preparing, supporting, and compensating the educators who care for them (the vast majority of whom are women of color, a group already hampered by pay inequity). We need to see even more additional child care slots on a scale that matches the needs of too many California children who lack access to quality learning environments during their critical first five years of life. Without these additional investments, we risk perpetuating inequities that already start far too early in a child’s life.

K-12 Education

Last year, students in K-12 settings saw a landmark budget—and this year merits the same scale. Investments in after-school and summer programming and dual enrollment promise to reimagine school in powerful ways, particularly for students of color, low-income students, and English Learners. However, we need the state to address the substitute crisis in the short-term. The budget must also address the acute needs of current educators, like dedicated funding for additional planning time and support for hiring additional nurses and counselors so teachers can focus on in-classroom needs. Without more caring, talented educators available to support our students, we risk letting the considerable potential of last year’s and this year’s budget go unrealized.

Higher Education

In higher education, this budget proposal offers a glimpse of transformative change with greater student access, clear equity goals, predictable funding levels, and intersegmental cohesion. Unfortunately, it also falls short of comprehensive Cal Grant modernization that would finally fuel the tremendous potential of many current and would-be college students facing financial barriers, especially students who are of color, earning lower incomes, undocumented, and/or first-generation.

The Governor’s budget proposal is an impressive starting place; in the coming months, we hope to see the Legislature build upon it with an even stronger focus on ensuring early learning and care providers, schools, colleges, and universities put the students who are furthest from opportunity first. This time of extended upheaval, combined with an estimated budget surplus, represents an opportunity to do things differently. And California’s students of color, those from lower income households, and English Learners can’t afford for us to waste it.

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About The Education Trust–West  

The Education Trust–West works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-K through college, in the state of California. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.