Statement from Californians Together regarding Governor Newsom’s Proposed 2021-2022 State Budget
Record Investments in Public School
During these challenging times, Californians Together is proud to see Governor Gavin Newsom committed to making record investments in our public schools. The governor has taken a step in the right direction by allocating resources to address the needs of students who have been negatively impacted by distance learning, such as English learners (ELs), resulting in learning loss by providing $2 billion for in-person instruction and by providing $4.6 billion in one-time funding for expanded learning and academic intervention grants targeted to students such as English learners.
We’re pleased that the $4.6 billion allocated to support expanded learning time calls out ELs and other vulnerable students. As districts develop intervention grants, we hope they look at the different types of ELs, such as newcomer students and Long-Term English learners, who have different needs. We also applaud the commitment to addressing social-emotional needs, supporting the teacher pipeline in high need areas, like bilingual certification and we appreciate his commitment to early childhood education, especially training and professional development with a focus on Dual Language Learners.
The proposal drives California’s path toward expanding dual language programs and multilingualism. The investments in staff professional development call out high-need areas, which can include bilingual staff. In addition, the $100 million investment in teacher residency programs includes a focus on bilingual education while the $50 million support for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten teachers includes support for ELs/DLLs.
We are also excited to see the continued growth of ethnic studies, which will be supported by a $5 million investment to fund professional development and instructional materials for Local Education Agencies (LEA) offering these courses.
Areas of Revision
While there is much to celebrate in the governor’s budget, we also want to call out areas we hope will be revised before it's adoption this Summer.
- It's concerning that English learners are not called out as a priority under the incentive grants for in-person instruction, which also need stronger requirements for adequate in-person instruction times. English learners, disproportionately impacted by distance learning, would benefit greatly from in-person instruction as language is learned through modeling from both teachers and peers.
- We support additional requirements for tracking attendance and engagement, but data should be reported and disaggregated by the student group to better understand the impact of this crisis on our most vulnerable students.
- Stronger language that ensures that Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) supplemental and concentration carryover funds remain as supplemental and concentration to increase or improve services for its intended students is needed. These are changes that were included in Assembly Bill 1835 last year, which the Governor vetoed and promised to fix within the budget.
- In addition to the teacher preparation programs that will be receiving proposed allocations, the Bilingual Teacher Preparation Program, which is a "grow your own" teacher capacity program ends June 30. 2021 and should be funded.
We urge the state legislature to take these points into consideration and hope to see them reflected in the revisions presented in May before enacting the 2021-22 budget.