SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) today announced the launch of the Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education. The commission’s goal is to develop solutions to improve results for California’s youngest learners and their families.
“Our successful future is built on a tiny foundation,” Speaker Rendon said. “Our youngest children are learning even before they start school and that learning is the basis of their entire educational success. Their success is our success.”
Rendon was first spurred to run for public office when the state slashed over $1 billion from early learning programs during the Great Recession, including to Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, the nonprofit he served as executive director. In the first budget he negotiated as Speaker in 2016, Rendon and the Legislative Women’s Caucus secured $530 million in additional funding for early education. Despite these recent investments, the early childhood education system still struggles from inadequate funding.
“This commission is a bipartisan effort to do the hard work of figuring out how we can support children and families at those early developmental stages,” Rendon added. “We want this to be something that will take the discussion away from the budget wrangles where someone has to lose for you to win. It’s important that we all win on this one.”
The commission will be tasked with identifying ways to create a more sustainable early learning system and update an outdated funding plan that has been unable to meet the demand for child care access in California. The commission will enable the Assembly to find ways to improve the state’s early learning system, and realize those improvements through policy and budget decisions.
The commission will be co-chaired by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). Also serving on the commission will be Assemblymembers Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).
“We know long-term change is needed for childcare. Whether it’s access or the workforce that provides care and delivery, I am ready for the challenge and hopeful for our results,” Assemblymember Garcia said. “Childcare remains an important issue not just for me, the Women’s Caucus, or families – but for employers and employees alike – as it affects the future of our workforce. I’m ready for the work ahead of us.”
“As a longtime advocate for early childhood education, I am honored to serve on Speaker Rendon’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “As chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, I am excited to work with leaders from across the state who are committed to ensuring that all of California’s children are given the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed.”
The commission will also benefit from nine community members who will bring educational expertise, parental perspectives, and the knowledge of community agencies and frontline providers.
Upon the conclusion of a series of hearings throughout the state, the commission will issue a report that will outline policy recommendations for the legislature to consider. The commission will hold its first hearing in the coming month.
Additional quotes from Assemblymembers serving on the commission:
Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park)
“As a long time educator, I have a history of fighting for increased resources for children and working families. While the last several budget years have provided additional funding for early childhood education programs, the system still struggles to stay afloat as a result of past cuts to funding. My goal in participating in the Blue Ribbon Commission is to find creative solutions and strategies to help the early childhood education system grow and support the kids and families who need it most.”
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco):
“Education is the greatest gift we can give to our children. By starting their education at a younger age, we can position them for greater success in life. Early childhood education improves brain development and helps enable parents to work and provide for their families. I look forward to identifying opportunities for moving California’s education system forward in order to build a more prosperous and inclusive state.”
Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido):
“As a mom, I am always concerned about looking at solutions to help children achieve in school and in life; and I know together we can collaborate on positive outcomes that work for our diverse state.”
List of community commissioners:
– Michael Olenick, President and CEO, Child Care Resource Center
– Nina Buthee, Executive Director, CA Child Development Administrators Association
– Deborah Kong, Director, Early Edge California
– Dr. Celia Ayala, Senior Advisor, L.A. Universal Preschool
– Tonia McMillian, SEIU Local 99 member and child care provider
– Mary Ignatius, Statewide Organizer, Parent Voices
– Parvin Ahmadi, Superintendent, Castro Valley Unified School District
– Dr. Jacquelyn McCroskey, Professor of Child Welfare at University of Southern California, School of Social Work
– Sonia Campos-Rivera, Director of Education Policy and Public Affairs, L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce
Website of the Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education: https://speaker.asmdc.org/blue-ribbon-commission-early-childhood-education