Early Education Advocates Touring the State Visit San Jose Area to Support Kids

Coalition of more than 50 organizations on 3-day, 7-stop tour of California to highlight the critical role of quality early education in closing the achievement gap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2014

CONTACT: Khanh Weinberg, 408-921-0098, khanh.weinberg@seiu521.org
Nick Sifuentes, 310-866-1692, nick@berlinrosen.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. – As attention on the importance of early learning explodes nationally, education advocates embark on a statewide tour to highlight the enormous benefits of early learning programs for children ages 0 to 5. Today’s stop at a child care provider’s home in San Jose provided an intimate glimpse into how early education helps boost kids’ future success.

“When children are brought into our day care, we know each of them has the potential to grow up and do great things, we see future graduates, future astronauts, chefs, scientists and novelists,” said Lorena Wright, a child care provider in San Jose. “It’s now time for California leaders to join us and also see our children’s potential and invest in that potential! Sacramento can begin by restoring the over $1 billion that has already been taken away from early learning and care.”

San Jose is one stop in the 3-day, 7-stop statewide “Gapbusters” bus tour, which is focused on the critical role that quality early childhood education and care play in long-term educational success, improved graduation rates and even better employment prospects.

In California, the educational achievement gap–a stark difference in educational success between low- and high-income students–has gone unaddressed, with only 8% of income-eligible infants and toddlers able to access state-funded child care assistance for high quality child care services.

“California is a national leader when it comes to bold initiatives that have a lasting, positive impacts on our state,” said Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, author of the Quality Family Child Care Act, AB 641. “But where we have failed to lead is on investment to early education and care despite it’s crucial role in preparing our kids for school so that they are successful and prepared to go to college. Therefore, I urge Governor Brown to continue his legacy of a strong education system by ensuring that our kids are set-up for success in school by investing in early education.”

Just in the last month the national conversation about the importance of early learning has elevated as President Obama reminded America why it’s important to prioritize children’s early care in his State of the Union address: “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education…30 states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have both proposed plans to fund pre-kindergarten, while Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, who recently raised statewide preschool spending by $65 million, called early education “a human need and an economic need” with dividends that will “show up for decades to come.”

But California trails the nation, neglecting early learning and care in this year’s proposed budget.

Child care providers, advocates and other passengers on the bus tour are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to position California to lead nationally by having every child—particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds—ready to learn on the first day of kindergarten, and to continue to build on his legacy of a strong K-12 education system for all of California’s children by:

1. Committing to a real and long-term investment in early learning and care programs by starting with the restoration of over $1 billion that was cut from the system since the economic crisis began.

2. Prioritizing the recruitment and retention of quality child care providers by signing the Quality Family Child Care Act (AB 641), which will help improve training and oversight of the state’s child care system and help improve quality by giving child care providers the right to collectively bargain for improvements to the system.

California’s overall lack of investment has real consequences; today 3 out of 4 children in California lack access to licensed child care spaces during the critical zero-to-five years. Yet the California Budget Project’s “Starting Strong” report documents that child care and development spending has fallen to 1.2 percent of total state spending, down from 2.0 percent in 2007-08.

Follow along with the Gapbusters tour on Twitter by using the hashtag #Gapbusters and following @RaisingCA, and on Facebook by going to facebook.com/raisingcaliforniatogether

Raising California Together (@RaisingCA) is a broad coalition of child care providers, agencies, parents, educators, clergy and interfaith networks, unions, small businesses, women’s and children’s advocates, community groups, and public health organizations united to press for local, state, and national policy solutions to increase access to quality child care and early learning choices.

Raising California Together Statewide Steering Committee:
Mark Friedman, First 5 Alameda County • Neneki Lee, Service Employees International Union •
Dion Aroner, former CA Assemblywoman & Founder, AJE Partners • Jessica Bartholow, Western Center on Law & Poverty • Patty Bellasalma, NOW-CA • Dr. Barbara Bowman, Oakland Pre K-6 Principal & School Administrator • Nancy Harvey, Child Care Providers United •Rev. Lewis Logan II, Ruach Christian Community Fellowship • Tonia McMillian, Child Care Providers United • Maria Elena Meraz, Parent Institute for Quality Education • TJ Michels, SEIU • Noushin Mofakham, South of Market Child Care, Inc. • Alicia E. Perez, Safe Passages • Courtni Pugh, SEIU Local 99 • Amy Reisch, First 5 Marin County • Kendra Rogers, First 5 Fresno County • Elmer Roldan, United Way of Greater LA • Lori Vandermeir, Orange County NOW

Organizational Partners:
AFSCME • Alliance for a Better Community • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) • Association of Black Social Workers, Los Angeles • BANANAS •Black Women for Wellness • Brotherhood Crusade • California College Democrats • California Fair Share • California Food Policy Advocates • California Immigrant Policy Center • California Labor Federation • California School Employees Association • Child Care Law Center • Child Care Providers United • Children’s Advocate | Defensor de los Niños • Children’s Defense Fund, California • Community Coalition of South LA • C.S.U Graduate Assistants, UAW 4123 • Oscar Dela Torre, School Board Member Santa Monica/Malibu School District • DREAM Team Los Angeles • First 5 Alameda County • First 5 Fresno County • First 5 Marin County • Sandra Fluke, Attorney and Social Justice Advocate • Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (ICIR-CLUE-CA) • LAANE • Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland • Martin Luther King Coalition • Mi Familia Vota • Mujeres Unidas y Activas • National Action Network, Los Angeles • NAACP, Los Angeles • National Council of La Raza • National Organization for Women (CA-NOW) • Orange County NOW • Our Family Coalition • Our Walmart • Parent Institute for Quality Education • Pico Youth and Family Center • Planned Parenthood of California • Restaurant Opportunities Centers United – CA • Ruach Christian Community Fellowship • Safe Passages • Service Employees International Union (SEIU) • SEIU Locals 99 & 521 • Special Needs Network, Inc. • St. John’s Well Child & Family Center • South of Market Child Care, Inc. • U.C. Postdoctoral Scholars, UAW 5810 • United Way of Greater Los Angeles • Western Center on Law & Poverty
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