Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2023
Contact: Mariel Matze, [email protected], 650-380-1973 

 

Oakland, CA — In response to California’s proposed 2023-2024 budget, Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, executive director of The Education Trust–West, issued the following statement:

Each year, the state budget reveals the strength of California’s commitment to the progressive values it espouses. Years in which revenue is lower and spending decisions more difficult—like this one—are perhaps an even better indicator of those values. By generally protecting education and the investments in equity made in recent years from the worst of this year’s shortfall, this budget proposal rightfully puts students first.

Through investments in the California State Preschool Program and transitional kindergarten, this budget recognizes that Californian children need more quality early learning opportunities, and parents need more options to choose from. But without commensurate investments in workforce and facilities, it fails to recognize that program expansion isn’t possible without better support for educators and providers. While we’re glad to see continued interest in addressing reimbursement rate reform, fair pay for providers would mean receiving an even higher rate from the state. We hope that policymakers will continue to collaborate with early childhood education workers to identify solutions.

In K-12 education, we are glad to see important recent investments protected and even augmented with an 8% cost-of-living adjustment. With those funds, we can continue to address one of our biggest challenges in closing opportunity and achievement gaps: the shortage of highly qualified teachers, especially those of color. With refinements to the Local Control Funding Formula like the equity multiplier, California’s school funding mechanism will become an even sharper tool for advancing educational equity.

Like their younger peers, higher education students were largely protected from cuts, though advancements in higher education equity will largely come from colleges and university leaders spending existing funds wisely and earning additional funding through results. The Administration is doubling down on its compacts with all three segments of public higher education, giving colleges and universities the opportunity to grow their operating budgets by demonstrating improvement. We’re also thrilled that the Administration has echoed our call for universal access to dual enrollment opportunities, which would especially benefit students of color.

Enter any school building, child care center, college, or university and ask how students are doing, educators will tell you: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still looms large, especially for the students who were already furthest from opportunity. This year, students of color and multilingual learners are counting on us to protect them from cuts, implement spending decisions with fidelity, and evaluate what’s working and what’s not honestly. If we use them wisely, we have the resources we need to do right by students––and advance equity for years to come.

Dr. Nellum is available for further comment if needed. Please contact Mariel Matze at 650-380-1973.

For our “Closer Look” analysis, please check our DisruptEd blog later this month. For more discussion on this year’s budget proposal, join us for our “Money Matters” webinar on February 1 at 12:00pm.

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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.