San Francisco, CA—Today, Common Sense Kids Action announced the creation of the Right Start Commission—a team of high-profile California policymakers, community leaders, and business leaders tasked with developing a plan to modernize California’s early childhood services. The plan will serve as a blueprint for providing universal, high-quality access to early learning and support systems for children from birth to age five. The Commission will examine both the public sector’s role in providing early childhood services and the private sector’s responsibility to ensure a right start for the children of company employees. Based on the Commission’s recommendations, Common Sense Kids Action intends to create a public policy roadmap for state leaders to follow in order to make California a leader in early childhood development and opportunity.
“Every child deserves a fair start in life and the only way we can ensure that happens is to provide all kids with the care, support and quality learning experiences they need to be successful from day one,” said Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer. “We know that improving early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make. Yet, across the nation millions of American kids are denied this critical opportunity year after year. With the Right Start Commission, Common Sense Kids Action will kick off an effort to reimagine early childhood services in California and create a model for the nation to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.”
The research is clear: learning starts early, and quality matters. Yet, data suggests that California lacks sufficient high-quality programs to adequately deliver the services and resources needed for development of our youngest children. This is especially the case for low-income children. Over a quarter of California’s three million children aged 0-5 are living in poverty, leaving hundreds of thousands of kids hindered by poor early childhood support and education. Investment in early childhood services is therefore critical not only to the health and happiness of California’s children, but to the state’s future economy as well.
While Governor Jerry Brown and state leaders have made modest commitments to quality early childhood education over the past year, additional work is required to rebuild the network of social services needed to ensure every child has an opportunity to learn and thrive.
“Early investment in our youngest children is essential to their long-term success as individuals and a bright future for California,” said California State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. “Now, more than ever, we must move kids to the top of our agenda and provide them with the resources they need to compete and succeed in a global economy. The Right Start Commission is a critical first step toward achieving that vision.”
The Commission will include some of California’s foremost thought leaders in children’s advocacy, healthcare, policymaking and business innovation, including:
- Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff
- Policylink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell
- Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond
- Institute of InterGroup Understanding Chair and CEO George Halvorson
- Center for Youth Wellness Founder and CEO Nadine Burke Harris
- Apple Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson
- Retired Congressman George Miller
- Heising-Simons Foundation President Elizabeth Simons
- Retired California State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg
- Common Sense Media Founder and CEO Jim Steyer
The Commission is being launched in conjunction with the InvestInUs coalition that President Obama unveiled in 2014 to improve the quality of and access to early childhood education for children throughout the country. Common Sense is a founding member of InvestInUS. Through a series of statewide and national events over the remainder of the year, the Right Start Commission will collect input from early education and care practitioners, parents, educators and respected researchers. Using the data collected at these events and through an exhaustive research report, the Commission will release a plan in the fall of 2015 that will serve as the focus for Common Sense Kids Action’s 2016 California legislative and advocacy agenda, and provide a blueprint for other states in 2016 and beyond.
To learn more about the Right Start Commission, visit the Common Sense Kids Action website.
About Common Sense Kids Action
Common Sense Kids Action is an independent, non-partisan and powerful voice whose mission is to make kids and education America’s top priority. Common Sense Kids Action works with national and state leaders to advance policies that help ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century. Common Sense Kids Action has committed to advancing a 21st Century Kids and Education agenda—an agenda that includes ensuring that all children 0-5 have access to vital health and education resources, advancing 21st century learning, alleviating the damaging effects of poverty, and protecting children’s online privacy. Learn more at the Common Sense Kids Action website.