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California's Budget Is a Win for Kids
Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2015–2016 state budget, and there's a lot of good news for kids, families, and education.
So what's so good about the budget for kids?
- Investing More Money for Schools: The new state budget is the best in years for our schools, featuring a $6 billion increase for resources to help English learners, low-income students, and foster youth. The budget also provides $3.2 billion for schools to spend how they wish, including making investments in things such as improved technology for students.
- Fighting Poverty: The California Earned Income Tax Credit provides substantial health and educational benefits to families and children while reducing poverty and encouraging work. The budget also extends Medi-Cal coverage to all children regardless of immigration status, an important element to ensuring all have the right start in life.
- Helping More Children Get a Right Start: Though we hoped for more, the budget makes some welcome investments in early childhood. It adds 7,030 new preschool slots and 6,800 childcare slots while providing rate increases to help cover the costs of quality care.
- Investing in Teacher Quality: Every child deserves great teachers, so it's great that this budget includes $500 million to support new teachers in their first years on the job, targeting resources to teachers identified as needing improvement and providing resources to veteran teachers as they learn to implement the new state standards, including the updated curriculum and the use of technology.
- Ensuring More Students Engage in Learning Relevant to Their Futures: The budget provides $900 million over three years for a grant program targeting high-quality career technical education programs. Through this hands-on curriculum, students become more engaged, are less likely to drop out, and gain better preparation for both college and the increasingly complex world of work.
- Connecting Our Schools: The budget provides $50 million to help schools upgrade their Internet infrastructures. It is unacceptable to leave some schools without broadband access or let them be forced to shut down learning activities on their networks during the administration of computer-adaptive tests.
We thank Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins, Senate President de León, California legislators, and early childhood and education advocates for their efforts to invest in our kids and schools.