The Education Trust–West Responds to Governor Newsom’s 2022-2023 Budget Proposal

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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.  

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.