SACRAMENTO – Just days after being sworn in as California’s 40th governor, Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed budget today for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year, including a $124.9 million investment to expand preschool education to all low-income four-year-olds over the next three years.
In response, Sylvia Torres-Guillén, the ACLU of California's Director of Education Equity, issued the following statement:
We commend Governor Newsom for championing early childhood education for California’s most vulnerable students. For years, California’s investment in quality early childhood education has seen a steady decline, even as child poverty in California remains the highest in the nation and as other states have increased their investments. Indeed, California must renew its commitment to provide adequate and meaningful resources for preschool education and ensure that all children, especially children of color and low-income children, receive a just, equitable, and excellent education.
In addition to early childhood education, California must also commit to a resource-based approach that keeps students in school and on track to graduate. It is long overdue for California to part ways with punitive approaches that have pushed countless students, especially Black and Brown students, out of school and into the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipeline.
Increasing access to support staff, including school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, is crucial to this endeavor.
Currently, California has one of the highest student-to-counselor ratios in the country, with school counselors handling nearly three times the recommended caseload. Additionally, California has twice as many police officers than social workers in schools. At the national level, more than 43 percent of students attend schools that do not have a psychologist on campus. It is time California fully and holistically serve children and youth in school.
We look forward to continuing budget discussions with the Newsom administration and the state legislature to advance racial justice, equity, and inclusion at every level of California’s public education systems.