California Voices: Education leaders speak out on Gov. Newsom’s budget proposals

What impressed you the most about Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal?
There’s a lot to applaud in the proposed budget, particularly for early education. Governor Newsom seems to be forging a path that does what many stakeholders have asked our state’s top leaders to do for years — to couple local control with a recognition of the crucial role state investments and initiatives need to play to address educational disparities.
I’m also pleased to see Governor Newsom propose investments in our educator workforce. Recently, the Partnership for LA Schools joined dozens of other organizations to urge the administration to prioritize the capacity building of high needs schools and districts on issues like restorative justice and English learner supports. I’m happy to see the governor heed that call. I’m also excited about the proposed investments in teacher residency programs throughout the state, which I believe if implemented effectively, can strengthen the pipeline of teachers teaching in under-resourced schools and districts.
And what do you feel is most notably missing, if anything?
As we move closer to celebrating Black History Month, I’m reminded of Frederick Douglass’ quote, “Once you learn to read, you’ll be free forever.” Given the alarming fact that 58 percent of 4th grade black students scored below proficient in reading in California and that math gaps are growing for black students, we must target even more resources to eliminate disparities for black and brown students statewide for us to realize equity in this generation.
I’m also grateful for a governor that embraces using education data for innovation and change. The budget seems somewhat silent on the next phase of the Cradle to the Career data system that was championed widely in last year’s budget. I’m looking forward to seeing the following steps and future investments.
Ryan J. Smith is chief external officer for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which manages 18 historically under-resourced Los Angeles Unified School District (LA Unified) schools serving 14,000 students in Watts, Boyle Heights and South LA.
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is a nonprofit that manages 18 schools in Los Angeles Unified.

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