The week, Gov. Gavin Newsom built on last year’s record state budget with a 2022-23 spending plan that tops it.

Schools from transitional kindergarten to high school and community colleges would receive $102 billion plus $16 billion in a windfall surplus from this year. Within those big numbers are programs, priorities and new commitments that will be shaped by the public’s response and debated through June in the Legislature.

EdSource has asked observers, advocates, students and legislators to initiate the discussion with their first take on the governor’s budget for 2022-23.

Scroll down and click on the photos to read their thoughts. Also, see what education leaders are saying about the governor’s early education and higher education proposals.

Peter A'Hearn

California Association of Science Educators

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We support the investment in college and career pathways that support health care, green technology, computer science, engineering and education including climate change. These are well targeted at high-growth areas that will benefit students and the state in the long term.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Science education in K-12 needs to be funded. The Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS, were adopted in 2013 and have never received dedicated funding in a manner equal to that of Common Core math and English language arts. As a result, most teachers in California do not yet have NGSS-aligned curriculum and have not had adequate professional development in NGSS.

The college and career pathways that are being well supported in this budget depend heavily on students having a foundation in science and engineering that would be well supported by NGSS if teachers were prepared to teach them. The NGSS includes K-12 engineering, the foundations of climate science, computer science through its emphasis on computational thinking and data analysis, and the basic science behind health care and climate technology. NGSS must be funded in a way equal to the way other core standards have been funded in order to prepare California’s students for college and career success.

Peter A’Hearn is the president of the California Association of Science Educators.

Eric Premack

Charter Schools Development Center

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The 5.33% cost of living adjustment will have the most immediate positive impact on students by allowing schools to immediately direct spending where it’s actually needed. The billions in additional funding proposed for expanded learning opportunity grants, expanded transitional kindergarten and other expanded state-mandated programs reflect little forethought and beg serious staffing, facilities and other very practical concerns that the governor, Legislature and staff are not taking seriously.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

The budget reflects a strategy of throwing billions of dollars at a wall and hoping it sticks. Many of the major programs that are launching/expanding reflect a lack of basic planning. Neither staff nor facilities are available. Instead of solutions, the budget proposes additional regulations and red tape. Expanding transitional kindergarten is perhaps the least rational, least cost-effective way to provide pre-K education, yet we’re moving forward without much care. A paltry $54 million to address California’s Byzantine teacher credentialing catastrophe isn’t going to cut it. Schools need more local control and better incentives, not more mandates, categoricals and red tape.

Eric Premack is executive director of Charter Schools Development Center, a charter school support and advocacy organization based in Sacramento.

Joseph Bishop

Center for the Transformation of Schools, UCLA

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s proposed budget includes strategic education and social investments to continue to eliminate deep inequities apparent by race and income throughout the state of California for young people, caregivers and families. A focus on expanding quality early education, in-school meals, mental health, strengthening the staffing and educator pipeline, bilingual education, expanded learning opportunities and prioritizing learning for justice-involved youth will yield great dividends for our state.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

The proposed historic investment in education will also raise expectations for Californians who will expect big results. With that in mind, our state must provide strong guidance and support based on solid evidence for the education and health sector: encouraging cross-sector partnerships and interagency efforts to maximize student learning, health and development in ways that will fundamentally change conditions for historically marginalized communities.

The governor’s proposed budget also includes $2 billion to address the homelessness crisis but still includes no dedicated funding for almost 270,000 young people who are housing-insecure statewide. The proposed Proposition 98 funding increase is incredibly encouraging, but we still can’t overlook the fact that students experiencing homelessness deserve caring adults and dedicated resources and staffing inside and outside of schools. Schools working with community-based organizations and county agencies can still be the hub for making these ecosystems of support come together.

Joseph Bishop is the executive director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA.

Maria Echaveste

The Opportunity Institute

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

By making further investments in early literacy and expanded learning time, as well as big investments in arts and music, and career pathways, the governor’s budget acknowledges that students learn in different ways and that a whole-child approach is most effective to improve education and life outcomes. Together with last year’s big investments in education, California is no longer in the bottom tier of the 50 states in its per-pupil spending. But with the largest public school student enrollment in the country, the state needs to invest appropriately and commensurate with its position as the fifth-largest economy in the world.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

As the budget develops, I am looking for specific proposals focused on ensuring effective implementation of last year’s big expenditures in community schools, mental health services for children and youth, expanded learning and transitional kindergarten. For example, while proposing increased funding for expanded learning, the budget document only “encourages schools to consider partnering with community-based providers.” There should be specific resources dedicated to supporting the development of those “partnerships” and in building the capacity of communities and families to engage with education and other social service systems to ensure these big-budget inputs lead to significant change, improvement and sustainability.

Maria Echaveste is the president of the Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on social and economic mobility and racial equity.

Lance Izumi

Pacific Research Institute

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Even before the Covid pandemic, 82% of low-income California eighth graders failed to reach proficiency on the national reading exam. So the governor’s proposed $500 million for hire and train literacy coaches and reading specialists to assist students could be promising. However, much depends on how and what these coaches will be teaching. Will it just be more of the same? New York City schools Chancellor David Banks says he’s scrapping the “balanced literacy” reading approach, which many California schools also use, because it has failed. He’s returning to phonic-focused instruction. Lesson: More money without effective strategies won’t improve student learning.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

The pandemic has shown that parents want more learning options for their children. California public schools have lost 160,000 in enrollment, with many of those students going to private schools and homeschooling. While the governor is increasing funding for the public schools, the budget fails to promote the educational choice that so many parents and their children want. Thus, while other states, such as West Virginia, have enacted education-savings-accounts programs that give parents wide-ranging education choice options, Newsom’s budget contains no such choice innovations. No wonder, then, that grassroots groups are looking to put school choice on this year’s ballot.

Lance Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute, a public policy research think tank.

Joel Vargas

Jobs for the Future

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Recovering from the pandemic will require schools to support student experiences that give them an essential step into the future, leverage resources outside the school walls and build a skilled workforce. The governor’s budget recognizes this in at least three ways: (1) $1.5 billion to support pathway programs in tech, health, education and climate-related career fields that require partnerships with employers, colleges and community stakeholders; (2) $500 million to expand access to dual enrollment for high schoolers to earn college credit toward a degree; (3) urging schools to work with community-based organizations skilled at working with youth to scale up high quality expanded learning opportunities.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

As we’ve learned from previous efforts to promote pathways, dedicated support is also needed for coordination functions that support the collaboration and system changes required to sustain and scale up healthy local cross-sector partnerships. While these proposed programs probably won’t prevent local education agencies from making these investments, such support is unlikely to be prioritized without encouragement.

Joel Vargas is vice president of programs at JFF, a national nonprofit organization with offices in Oakland, Boston and Washington, D.C., that drives change in the American workforce and education systems to achieve economic advancement for all. He is also president of EdSource’s board of directors. 

Benay Loftus

Antelope Valley SELPA

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s proposals to address school fiscal stability, declining enrollment, attendance and instructional time are foundational to ensuring schools can continue to provide a high-quality education, social-emotional supports and necessary interventions for all students to accelerate academic learning post-pandemic. We also applaud efforts to address staffing shortages, early education, poverty and school nutrition, which will allow schools to keep a focus on equity and closing the achievement gap in the recovery process.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

We believe that this moment presents a real opportunity to further the state’s commitment to all students, and particularly students with disabilities, by increasing its investments in the design and implementation of the statewide system of support, which will result in improved accountability and expanded innovations that will truly move the needle on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

Benay Loftus is the SELPA administrator for the Antelope Valley SELPA and the chair of the SELPA Association of California.

Jonathan Kaplan

California Budget & Policy Center

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s proposal to increase funding for the expanded learning opportunities program by more than $4 billion, including nearly $1 billion to help schools integrate arts and music into program options, prioritizes English learners, foster youth and students from low-income families who come from communities hard hit by the pandemic. The expanded learning opportunities program provides students with enrichment opportunities outside the traditional school day, additional learning time, and helps families struggling to provide support for their children. The significant funding boost signals the governor’s commitment to providing ongoing dollars for students supported by the program and the staffing investments needed to aid kids beyond the classroom.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Supporting English learners is a missed opportunity. The governor has advanced major proposals for community schools and the expanded learning opportunities program. But we haven’t seen the same commitment to improving education for English learners or prioritizing bilingual education. The governor’s proposal to invest $200 million in multilingual libraries is a nod to the opportunity presented by the 40% of California’s K-12 students who live in a home where a language other than English is spoken. Yet the administration lacks a bold policy agenda that leverages multilingual students’ assets and builds on their skills.

Jonathan Kaplan is a senior policy analyst for the California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan research-and-analysis nonprofit committed to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians.

Amy Cranston

Social Emotional Learning Alliance for California

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

From the student end of the equation: The recognition and increased support for expanded learning programming and opportunities; in particular, acknowledgment of the importance of enrichment programs in getting students reengaged in school and building the peer support networks needed to flourish. From the educator end of the spectrum: The much-needed focus on rebuilding the educator workforce by providing career counseling for prospective teachers, streamlining the credentialing and sub-credential process, and uplifting the profession by highlighting the value and benefits of a career in education.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Greater support for existing educators to elevate the profession and create more opportunity and flexibility in terms of professional development and salary advancement. Additionally, more support for educator mental health and wellbeing, including teachers, administrators, and all school staff. Educators, now more than ever, need to feel valued and respected: “If you don’t feed the teachers, they eat the students.”

Amy Cranston, Ed.D., is the executive director for the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for California, a nonprofit social-emotional learning awareness and advocacy organization.

Martha Hernandez

Californians Together

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

With the greatest increase in the Local Control Funding Formula since the Great Recession, school districts in California have an unprecedented opportunity to invest in evidence-based and equity-focused practices that can transform education for our highest-need students and address learning gaps posed by the pandemic.

It is also promising to see funding for local educational agencies to create and/or expand multilingual school or classroom libraries offering culturally relevant texts to support reading instruction.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

The pandemic has only exacerbated existing challenges for our students, especially English learners. To address these challenges and close gaps, bold investments must be made to address staff professional learning and expand the pipeline of qualified bilingual educators. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that solutions that address the bilingual teacher shortage and prioritize our English learners are included in the final budget, such as through investing in the Educator Workforce Investment Program, the English Learner Roadmap Policy Implementation Grant and the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Grant.

Martha Hernandez is the executive director of Californians Together, a coalition of organizations that advocate for English learners.

David Crane

Govern For California

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

There was no discussion of how well money is being spent or pupil performance and no comparisons with pupil performance during the pandemic in other states.

David Crane is president of Govern For California, which backs lawmakers who serve the general interest.

Joshua Salas

Special Education Teacher

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Gov. Newsom’s 2022 budget proposal directs $54.4 million to address the challenges in the education workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more teachers out of the classroom, and creating more dire staffing shortages across all schools in the state. As an early career educator, it is exciting to see that there is funding that will waive examination fees, which has hindered candidates from pursuing a teaching career. Waiving these fees will free up financial costs for future candidates, which will increase districts and school leaders’ ability to hire qualified candidates and substitute teachers, and bring more teachers in front of our students.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

The budget needs to prioritize the long-term trajectory of education. Teachers are leaving the field at a rapid rate, so we must make education be a field worth staying in. Already named in the College and Career Pathways, the development of pathways for high school students is pivotal because it will encourage younger generations to gain experience and pursue a career in education. Alongside their development, there should also be compensation for educators who support these pathways because we must ensure that there is an investment and ongoing support for our educators who are already in the field.

Joshua Salas is a tenth grade special education teacher in Los Angeles and a Teach Plus California policy fellow.

Sara Noguchi

Superintendent, Modesto City School District

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Given the extraordinary challenges that schools, students and families continue to face while the Covid-19 pandemic endures, we applaud the governor’s proposal to amend the LCFF calculation on average daily attendance so that schools can provide continuity of important educational services while navigating extreme and unanticipated declines in enrollment and attendance. We also commend the $1.5 billion investment in expanding existing pathways for career technical education initiatives statewide. By doing so, students will have the ability to earn college credits, micro-credentials, and work/apprenticeship experience beginning in high school. This foundation is so valuable to launch students on a trajectory to either pursue higher education or enter into a career upon graduation.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Strong state revenues provide the opportunity to address the pressing fiscal challenge of increasing pension costs. We continue to advocate for a state investment now of non-Proposition 98 funds to reduce the increase in employer pensions rates. As the Legislative Analyst Office pointed out in its November fiscal outlook, district contribution rates for the Public Employee Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System are expected to increase significantly. Such an investment would benefit all students by supporting fiscal stability across districts, allowing districts to devote more funds to support teaching and learning.

Sara Noguchi is the superintendent of Modesto City Schools, lead district for the California Association of Suburban School Districts.

Howard Adelman

National Center for Mental Health in Schools & Student/Learning Supports at UCLA

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal demonstrates his commitment to improving education. It also underscores that it is essential to address barriers to learning and teaching so that many more students will experience equity of opportunity for succeeding at school.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

As in previous years, funds to address such barriers will be allocated in a piecemeal manner. This will perpetuate the fragmented activity underway at schools rather than moving them toward developing a cohesive, comprehensive and equitable system of student and learning supports.

For years, analyses have indicated the imperative for transforming how schools address barriers to learning and teaching and work to reengage disconnected students; research has provided prototypes and guides for such a transformation.

We understand budget politics, but we also know that piecemeal approaches amount to tinkering and won’t make much of a dent in the number of learning, behavior and emotional problems schools face every day.

Howard Adelman is the co-director of the national Center for MH in Schools & Student/Learning Supports at UCLA

Mary C. Barlow

Kern County Office of Education

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

I am pleased to see the governor’s commitment to supporting education from cradle to career. We know that early investments result in better student outcomes and ultimately more productive and contributing community members. The governor’s emphasis on in-person instruction is imperative, as we know that children can thrive when they are in schools surrounded by caring, supportive adults and their peers.

I appreciate the governor showing fiscal prudence by investing one-time dollars in areas of greatest opportunity while making ongoing investments in needed reforms to improve student achievement. We have the opportunity to learn from this pandemic and use this historic investment to re-imagine the education system so that it meets the needs of all California’s children and families.

Mary C. Barlow is the Kern County superintendent of schools, based in Bakersfield.

Melanee Cottrill

California Association of School Psychologists

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The budget’s focus on addressing the whole child and the mental health and well-being of students is critical to students’ recovery and progress. Students simply cannot thrive in school when they are struggling with the myriad effects of the pandemic, whether they lost loved ones, suffered from economic hardships, were sick themselves or are simply having a hard time adjusting to life on campus.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

We appreciate the attention to educator workforce and development and college and career pathways. Unfortunately, California continues to lag in the number of credentialed school psychologists available to students on campuses. These budget proposals are missing funding to increase the number of school psychologists, school counselors and school social workers trained, credentialed and employed in California. These professionals are all uniquely qualified and credentialed to work within the school system and support students’ educational achievement. To be successful, the state must attend to the capacity of our institutions of higher education to serve a larger and more diverse population of credential and graduate students. We appreciate the educator workforce proposals to streamline and provide support to those pursuing credentials; we will work to ensure these efforts encompass pupil personnel services credentials.

Melanee Cottrill is executive director of the California Association of School Psychologists, a professional association working on behalf of the state’s more than 6,500 credentialed school psychologists.

Tim Taylor

Small School Districts' Association

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The funding for arts and music will help students recover and heal during the pandemic and from the tragic wildfires that impacted school communities. Schools that dealt with earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides and other tragedies know that children expressing themselves  through visual and performing arts is healing.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

School districts that did not receive direct federal funding through the federal CARES Act should have a dedicated allocation from this excess reserve. Some districts received over $12,000 per student and other high needs districts received less than $500 per kid. How is that equity?

Tim Taylor, executive director, Small School Districts’ Association, which represents 538 small districts in California.

Will Swaim

California Policy Center

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Newsom’s only solution to fixing California’s failing public schools is to throw good money after bad. The proposed budget rewards teachers unions but doesn’t offer any proposals for holding schools accountable for some of the worst achievement scores in the nation. Newsom proposes to raise spending to more than $20,000 per student, but for far less, parents could send their children to a high-performing private school. The only way real change will happen is if voters say yes to school choice and allow parents to direct those dollars to schools they choose instead of staying stuck in public schools.

Will Swaim is president of the California Policy Center, an educational non-profit working for the prosperity of all Californians by eliminating public-sector barriers to freedom

Samantha Tran

Children Now

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

From virtually every indicator of student well-being, whether it is test scores, chronic absenteeism rates or student surveys, it is clear our kids are struggling and there are disproportionately more negative experiences occurring for our Black and Latino students, English learners, foster youth and special education and low-income students. The significant revenue coming into the state has given the governor the opportunity to not only invest heavily in the Local Control Funding Formula with a proposed $3.3 billion cost of living adjustment and $500 million for special education, but also to build on last year’s budget and put forward investments in a number of critical education and well-being strategies, including continuing the rollout of transitional kindergarten ($1 billion), expanding after-school and summer programming (nearly $4.5 billion), and ensuring universal meals across the state ($596 million). If implemented effectively, these strategies have the potential to provide educational, enrichment, and health supports that are critically needed to help students engage in school, build back critical relationships and, ultimately, develop the knowledge and skills that will better prepare them for the future.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

We think two critical priorities are missing from the governor’s budget proposal. While the budget includes some modest workforce investments, we are deeply concerned by the educator crisis that is occurring in California schools. As we lay out in one of our blog posts, “If We Want Equity in our Schools, We Need to Invest Wisely to Get It,” districts are struggling to find and hire the teachers, counselors, social workers and nurses, among others, who are a critical presence at schools, and work closely with kids. In last year’s budget, recruitment was a significant theme, with nearly $3 billion invested in a variety of strategies, but while those investments are helpful, the one-time nature of these funds and the lack of clear ongoing commitment may result in less than optimal outcomes. We also need to invest in strategies that will retain educators, especially in high-concentration schools. This could include funding several educator buyout days that allow for additional professional development and collaboration time for teachers during the summer and intersession, reducing the need for substitute teachers for these purposes. Second, the budget misses an opportunity to invest in additional equity-forward strategies, including evaluating the implementation of LCFF to consider different approaches to strengthen the funding formula and taking a long-term systemic approach to ensure that, as California schools decline in enrollment, there is planned, consistent funding to reduce the need for educator layoffs, especially in high-concentration schools. These investment strategies have the potential to provide students a stable school community, access to more caring and skilled adults, and the guarantee that services and programs will be effectively and equitably implemented and available to them now and into the future.

Samantha Tran is the senior managing director of education at Children Now, a California-based research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to improving children’s health, education, and overall well-being.

Jan Gustafson-Corea

California Association for Bilingual Education

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The California Association for Bilingual Education applauds the governor’s proposal for a combined $700 million of one-time funding to increase literacy/biliteracy instruction and purchase multilingual materials. California is currently addressing the literacy/biliteracy needs of students through the state superintendent of public instruction’s Literacy/Biliteracy Task Force and other statewide efforts that emphasize the need for literacy development in students’ home languages as well as in the languages of their instructional setting, such as English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic and Hmong, among others. Increased funding for hiring and training literacy coaches as well as expanding the multilingual school or classroom libraries are research-based ways to increase reading levels, elevate authentic literacy/biliteracy development and maximize academic success.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

We support the governor’s focus on promoting equity and used an equity lens to view the proposed budget. The increases in funding for education are greatly welcome and will have an even deeper impact if the needs of students of diverse racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds are targeted. The pandemic has shone a new spotlight on the disparities for students of diverse backgrounds. Strategically addressing the needs of English learners, African American students, students of low economic backgrounds and students with other diverse needs would amplify the commitment to address the glaring gaps in instruction, technology access, health and safety.

Jan Gustafson-Corea is the CEO of the California Association for Bilingual Education, a statewide educational nonprofit organization whose vision focuses on biliteracy, multicultural competency and educational equity for all.

Jennifer Peck

Partnership for Children and Youth

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We are of course excited to see the governor expand on his commitment to growing access to afterschool and summer learning programs through a big infusion into the expanded learning opportunities program. For decades these programs have proven their value in providing safe, supportive learning environments that increase student engagement. The research is clear that kids who go to afterschool programs attend school more regularly, so this investment is key for addressing the massive attendance and engagement challenges we are facing.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

What’s missing is any reference to a cost of living adjustment for existing and new expanded learning programs. Without this, there’s no way to recruit and retain the workforce needed to implement all this new investment. Staffing is by far the biggest challenge to effective and efficient implementation, and a realistic proposal for adequately paying this critical workforce will make or break this investment.

Jennifer Peck is CEO of the Partnership for Children and Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to building access to quality after-school and summer learning opportunities for students in California’s most underserved communities.

Mala Batra

Aspire Public Schools

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We applaud Gov. Newsom’s commitment to addressing Covid-19 and making significant investments into our state’s public schools. We appreciate the governor’s support for early childhood education and literacy, which is critical for students. The governor’s Covid-19 response prioritizes rapid test kits for schools, showing the undeniable link between the health of our community and the success of our schools. While this is a step in the right direction to keep scholars in school — where they are cared for and positioned to excel academically — we need policymakers to do more to address the obstacles caused by the pandemic.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

When students quarantine, they’re marked absent — except for the few students who enroll in and meet the extensive requirements of independent study. For the majority of students, the state is withholding funds from their schools when absentees are quarantining for their health and for the safety of others. As educators do all they can to accelerate learning and support mental health, now is the wrong time to continue withholding funds. We look forward to working with the governor and Legislature to ensure all students —regardless of where they go to school—receive adequate funding as we go into the fourth school year still gripped by the pandemic.

Mala Batra is the chief executive officer of Aspire Public Schools, a community-based public charter school network educating over 15,500 students in underserved communities across California.

Anne Stanton

Linked Learning Alliance

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s investment in college and career learning, particularly pathways, dual enrollment and teacher preparation, will support our communities as they recover from the impacts of Covid-19. This proposal is a commitment to young people during their decade of difference, the formative period between 14 and 24 where identities, dispositions and aspirations are formed. Through intentionally connecting classroom learning to workforce development, it has real potential to ignite our young people’s college and career ambitions, prepare the next generation for careers in California’s highest-impact industries and set communities on a path toward sustained economic and educational justice.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Pandemic-driven disruptions have taken a toll on young people, with many slipping through the cracks during the transition to postsecondary. With the budget, policymakers can change that. Years of research from Linked Learning shows college and career pathways can ease the K-12 to college transition when a measure of quality is in place. We must ensure pathways meet evidence-based, high-quality standards that generate equitable outcomes and drive continuous improvement through California’s Cradle-to-Career data system. So education investments drive workforce readiness, these budget proposals should be implemented in tandem, creating accelerated experiences for students to and through K-12, postsecondary and in-demand careers.

Anne Stanton is the president and CEO of the Linked Learning Alliance. The alliance leads a movement to help every young person determine their own future through Linked Learning, a proven approach that combines rigorous academics with real-world learning and strong support services to keep students to college, career and purpose.

Margaret Olmos

National Center for Youth Law

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

I applaud the investments in the K-12 budget that I believe will have real impact in supporting students who have been most adversely affected recover most from this devastating pandemic – one that has laid bare our systems’ educational inequities. In particular, I would highlight the increased investments in early learning, the addition of a refundable $1,000 state tax credit for youth formerly in foster care at age 13 or older, and the addition of $1 million to expand family finding and engagement and increase the availability of early intervention to students and families that need it most.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

California has lagged behind so many other states in making the necessary investments to ensure youth who are experiencing homelessness receive the support they need to succeed in school. By failing to invest in the identification and support of unaccompanied homeless youth early, at a time that can change life trajectories, we force counties and local communities to face a far more costly and complicated crisis. California should match McKinney-Vento federal dollars, modify the Local Control Funding Formula to serve youth experiencing homelessness, and to thoughtfully fund housing options for unaccompanied minors.

Margaret Olmos is the director of compassionate education systems in California at the National Center for Youth Law. Her work is focused on advancing equity for system-impacted scholars in California.

Heather Hough

Policy Analysis for California Education

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

I am glad to see another historic investment in education, particularly in the areas of expanded learning, dual enrollment, early literacy, special education and teacher workforce. After another year of disrupted schooling and chaos in the system, our students, educators and families need to be prioritized. We are hopeful that 2022-23 may bring more stability, and this budget would provide the needed resources for our educational leaders to do the critical work of re-imagining and rebuilding our schools and districts so that they can address students’ needs and rebuild trust in the system.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Despite the strong investment in K-12 education, I remain concerned about the system’s capacity to make the best use of these resources. Dramatic changes are needed to meet the unprecedented needs of students in the wake of the pandemic, and this kind of transformation requires long-term financial investment, coherent policies that promote meaningful change, and robust support for implementation. I would like to see investments in the development of a long-term school funding plan, innovative statewide approaches to addressing critical workforce needs, statewide structures for accountability and support, mechanisms for monitoring student learning acceleration at scale, and policies that relieve district budget pressures, such as escalating pension costs.

Heather J. Hough is the executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, which is committed to improving education policy and practice and advancing equity through evidence.

Sarah Lillis

Teach Plus California

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We are happy to see the governor continue his commitment to investing in an excellent and diverse teaching workforce. While the state has recently made significant investments in the teaching workforce, the new proposal for career and college pathways to support high school students in their pursuit of careers in education addresses a significant gap in the pipeline. The impact of teacher shortages has been felt more acutely than ever before in regions throughout the state. This model can allow districts to both provide robust, relevant educational pathways for student success, as well as grow their own teaching workforce that better reflects the racial and linguistic diversity of their community.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

While Teach Plus California is thrilled with many of the recent state investments in education, we have seen that, despite our best intentions, the promise of many of these investments and policies are not being realized because of a lack of capacity and expertise at the local level. For example, our teachers have called out that they are not benefiting from the state focus on well-being, professional learning, addressing the needs of multilingual learners, and many other priorities. It is essential for the state to also invest in a statewide system of support that can aid local leaders in implementing many of these programs.

Sarah Lillis is executive director of Teach Plus California, a nonprofit organization that trains teachers for leadership roles.

John Affeldt

Public Advocates

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s budget further builds on many significant investments in last year’s budget to expand a very meaningful “whole child” approach to public education. If passed, it would deliver a huge new investment in expanded learning (another $4.3 billion), take a big step toward universal transitional kindergarten ($1 billion), provide universal school meals ($1 billion) and deliver more support for children’s behavioral health ($1.5 billion). We are heartened to see the holistic focus on wraparound supports, which complements last year’s historic investment ($3 billion) in full-service, relationship-centered community schools. The challenge will now be effective implementation and integration across all the new funding streams.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Given the number and variety of historic investments in our public schools over the last 18 months from both the state and the federal government, Public Advocates and our community partners continue to believe that the state is in dire need of greater local capacity to involve families, students and community members in the use of these billions of dollars. California needs a Marshall Plan-type investment that exponentially expands both local education agency capacity to involve community members in local decision-making and a major investment in communities and local organizations themselves. We need the whole community’s expertise to understand and direct all these new investments to their best effect. That can only be achieved with a program that transforms how parents, students and community members are involved with their local schools.

John Affeldt is a managing attorney and director of education equity for Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination in California.

Christine Stoner-Mertz

California Alliance of Child and Family Services

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s $1.7 billion investment in the care economy includes funding to increase social workers, community health workers and create training positions for mental health professionals. There is an urgent need to address students’ social-emotional and mental health needs to help them recover academically. Funding for crisis services will help to address the gaps in services that stabilize students experiencing mental health crises. The continued child tax credit that assists families living in poverty, and funding for educational recovery and tutoring will be helpful as well. The administration proposes to require nonprofit hospitals to demonstrate how they are making investments in local health efforts, specifically community-based organizations that address the social determinants of health. These are among the important investments and initiatives in the budget that will help students recover from the pandemic.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

There needs to be immediate relief to community-based organizations that have continued to serve students and young people through the pandemic and have not had the level of support that health care and public education have received. These organizations are the foundation of local behavioral health systems, and specifically support low-income and foster youth. In many large counties, community-based organizations provide most of the services to children and youth. These organizations urgently need grants that can help them retain and stabilize staffing as they address students’ mental health needs. These grants could specifically be used to support retention and recruitment of behavioral health staff. At the same time, demand for services is far exceeding the supply.

Christine Stoner-Mertz, LCSW, is the CEO of the California  Alliance of Child and Family Services, a policy and advocacy organization representing nonprofit community-based service providers statewide.

Vincent Matthews

San Francisco Unified School District

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

A fiscal cliff due to drops in enrollment and attendance is one of the biggest concerns we school districts are facing. The governor has given us some helpful relief and time by proposing that the LCFF can be based on three prior years of attendance. The increase in ongoing funding for special education is also welcome, as it’s more crucial than ever to support our students with disabilities. These services are costly and woefully underfunded, and districts need more funding from the state and federal levels. We hope to see the state continue to increase its financial support for special education.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

While the cost-of-living adjustment on the LCFF (5.33%) is very helpful, I was frankly hoping to see a larger increase, beyond what’s required by statute to cover inflation. Because the LCFF is intentionally designed to provide baseline funding plus additional funds for students with greater needs, this is the most important way to direct discretionary Proposition 98 dollars. Given a choice between LCFF, one-time funds and most categorical dollars, I would almost always prefer to see boosts directed to the LCFF. I was also hoping that support would continue for districts to address pension costs. As the budget talks continue in Sacramento, I hope these issues can be prioritized.

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District.

Rana Banankhah

Sudent member of the State School Board

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has engendered countless hardships for the six million students in our public school education system, which have highlighted the resilience and perseverance of our students, families, and educators. I’m proud to see that Governor Newsom’s proposed budget addresses these challenges with critical and extensive investments in key areas such as promoting early literacy, supporting our educator workforce, and increasing access to learning opportunities for students. These resources will not only help our students recover from this pandemic, but will also help to ensure they thrive for years to come.

Rana Banankhan is a senior at Modesto High School in the International Baccalaureate program and the student member of the State School Board.

Phil Ting

California Assembly Budget Committee

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The promise of Proposition 98 — to make education funding a priority state investment deserving of our kids — is finally taking shape in this budget. Historic funding levels will support our pandemic-exhausted educators and students alike. This year will pave the way to a pre-K through career school model that is the center of a thriving community, not an isolated brick building. We will focus together on addressing our student engagement and teacher workforce crises, while keeping everyone safe, healthy and learning on campus.

Assemblyman Phil Ting represents the west side of San Francisco & northern San Mateo County and chairs the Assembly Budget Committee.

Tatia Davenport

California Association of School Business Officials

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The effects of the pandemic have required every educational leader to develop new approaches to deliver educational services and student support while balancing the realities that declining enrollment and uncertainty with attendance create for long-term financial planning and preparedness. The California Association of School Business Officials and its members are appreciative of the governor’s proposed solutions to managing declining enrollment, investing in special education and tackling education workforce shortages. These major efforts recognize the needs of the field to ensure we can continue to provide in-person instruction in the safest and healthiest of environments while continuing to weather the impacts of Covid-19.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

As local education agencies seek to build long-lasting programs with demonstrated effectiveness to close the academic achievement gaps of disadvantaged students and address local community needs, sustainability is critical to our success in delivering on that promise. CASBO will continue to support establishing a new benchmark for the Local Control Funding Formula base grant levels that support sound compensation structures for staff, empower local education agencies to leverage local resources to draw down any available grant funding and adequately support mandatory operations costs. We will also focus on ensuring these local agencies have the necessary financial support to address outstanding pension liabilities and modernize their facilities to meet transitional kindergarten demands, offer and expand child nutrition service and address energy resiliency efforts.

Tatia Davenport is chief executive officer at the California Association of School Business Officials, representing over 24,000 school business officials statewide on legislative matters affecting public education finance.

Christopher J. Nellum

The Education Trust–West

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

With students in need of strong relationships, social-emotional learning and academic enrichment, we were thrilled to see proposed funding levels for after-school and summer programming triple since last year. These resources are specifically for students living in lower-income communities, communities that have been hit especially hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Investments in increasing access to dual enrollment programs promise to re-imagine the high school-to-college transition in powerful ways. Because students of color, low-income students, and English learners are least likely to have access to dual enrollment offerings, we’re especially excited to see this funding go toward increasing equitable participation.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Without additional caring, talented adults in schools, we risk letting the considerable potential of last year’s historic surplus and this year’s proposed budget go unrealized. The budget must address educators’ acute needs, like dedicated funding for more planning time and additional nurses and counselors so teachers can focus on in-classroom needs.

We also hope to see the Governor and Legislature provide guidance on the implementation of last year’s historic budget investments, reinforcing that efforts to scale up community schools, universal transitional kindergarten, and expanded learning opportunities should be coordinated as a holistic approach to serving California’s most marginalized students.

Christopher J. Nellum is the executive director of The Education Trust-West, a research and advocacy organization working for educational justice of behalf of students of color, those from lower-income households, and English learners, from birth through college, in the state of California.

Anya Hurwitz

SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language)

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

This budget prioritizes the students who need the most support for an equitable recovery. The investments in early literacy are encouraging and critical to address the unfinished learning caused by the pandemic. Effective literacy coaches and reading specialists who can support literacy and biliteracy instruction in culturally and linguistically affirming ways are an essential component of education equity in California. Additionally, we’re pleased to see funding to create and expand multilingual school and classroom libraries offering culturally and linguistically relevant texts. This sends a strong message that in our state we embrace and elevate multilingualism and biliteracy.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Transforming classrooms to be inclusive, asset-based, and ignite learning for all students will require long-term investments that build equity-focused professional learning systems. We need investments that address the major barriers that currently exist –lack of substitute teachers, lack of time for teacher collaboration and planning and inconsistent resources for instructional coaching. Without addressing these, we run the risk of wasting the historic resources available at this time. Furthermore, ongoing investments are needed to center multilingual learners, expand dual-language programs and address the bilingual teacher shortage if we are to realize our vision of a strong, diverse, multilingual California.

Anya Hurwitz, Ed.D., is the executive director of SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language), a nonprofit organization that works to center the assets and needs of dual language/English learners in our schools and school systems.

Mayra E. Alvarez

The Children's Partnership

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The governor’s $1.2 billion investment in addressing the fiscal challenges related to declining student enrollment and pandemic-related attendance challenges will support schools in making fewer difficult decisions around program reductions and pave the way for policy changes that move toward enrollment-based school funding allocations. Student attendance is impacted by a variety of factors, only a few of which are under school influence, including students’ physical and mental health. Continuing to tie school funding to student attendance will only entrench the inequities of social determinants of health within communities and families that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Furthermore, Covid-19 has had a detrimental enormous impact on food security and nutrition. Investments in school-based supports like School Breakfast and Summer Meal Start-Up and Expansion Grant Programs help ensure children and families can easily access nutritious meals, further providing students the support they need to succeed in school and life.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

California’s children and youth are facing a mental health crisis. The recently created Office of School-Based Health within the California Department of Education would benefit from additional funding and resources to implement prior budget investments that support the mental health of California’s students. This includes supporting the implementation of SB 224, a landmark law that passed last year that will integrate mental health education into all middle and high school health classes, as well as AB 2315, that requires the office, in partnership with the Department of Health Care Services, to create guidelines and information for the use of telehealth to increase access to mental health services for public school students at their schools. Schools are critical partners in supporting the overall well-being of our young people.

Mayra E. Alvarez, MHA, is president of The Children’s Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to advance child health equity by ensuring all children have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and thrive.

Nadya Chinoy Dabby

Pivot Learning

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

Early literacy skills are essential to student success and key to disrupting the educational inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. We are encouraged that the governor’s budget allocates $500 million to deploy evidence-based practices in schools to improve students’ early literacy skills. The evidence base on how educators can effectively teach students to read is substantial—arguably one of the clearest topics in education where we know what works. Yet this evidence base is often underutilized: It tends to be inadequately reflected in popular curricula, for example, and educators are not routinely given access to the coaching and support they need to improve their literacy instruction. By resourcing educator support across multiple years, the governor’s budget is poised to enable California to significantly improve literacy outcomes.

Nadya Chinoy Dabby is the chief growth officer at Pivot Learning, an Oakland-based education nonprofit that works with educators to ensure instructional coherence and improve teaching and learning.

Donna Glassman-Sommer

California Center on Teaching Careers

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The human capital challenges grow for our schools every day. The significant expenditures to promote the benefits and value of becoming an educator, remove barriers of entry into the profession and recruit new educators into the classroom are promising, but our schools also need solutions now. Waiting to do this work until the budget is passed will not help schools remain open. We need to expand existing programs – like the California Center on Teaching Careers’ residency and mental health supports – to address the current challenges while continuing to innovate to create systemic solutions.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Schools are stretched to their breaking point with issues that predate the pandemic. We need to recognize that part of the current problem is that the stress and risk to teachers outweighs the investment we as a state are making in our educators. Teachers are the single most important factor in the success of students. We must truly invest in retaining our current teachers by creating more comprehensive and competitive compensation, supporting mental health and creatively hiring individuals who can take work off the plates of our hardworking educators. These systemic changes are needed now more than ever.

Donna Glassman-Sommer serves as the executive director for the California Center on Teaching Careers, housed within the Tulare County Office of Education, which is the statewide agency focused on solving the teacher shortage.

Jeff Freitas

CFT union

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We applaud Gov. Newsom for making a record investment in K-12 public education in his budget proposal. The governor is leading with his values, continuing to deliver on his bold commitment to fully fund our public schools and to ensure every student in California receives the long-term resources and support they need to recover from the pandemic.

Gov. Newsom’s $1.4 billion commitment of immediate funding to address the Covid-19 pandemic will be critical as we continue to face the surge in omicron cases. We urge the state of California to move without delay to use these resources to distribute rapid tests and high-quality masks in our schools.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

There is a crisis in the education staffing levels that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. We need more bus drivers, custodians, paraprofessionals, teachers, counselors and more. We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to figure out ways to recruit and retain educators in the profession of providing education to the students of California.

Jeff Freitas is the president of CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals.

E. Toby Boyd

California Teachers Association

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

California educators appreciate Gov. Newsom’s ongoing commitment to our neighborhood public schools and colleges reflected in the 2022-23 state budget proposal. The fast-spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant is adding new challenges, with thousands of students and educators testing positive and creating significant staffing shortages. We remain committed to keeping our schools open for in-person teaching and learning but to do so, schools must have proper safety measures, access to testing and adequate staffing. We appreciate the Governor’s continued safety efforts and urge the state to provide rapid COVID tests in our schools, provide high-quality K/N 95 masks for educators and all school staff and proper ventilation. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for all workers in California must be a priority to allow school employees to quarantine, recover and return to their students and classrooms.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

We are reviewing the details outlined in the budget proposal and look forward to working with Gov. Newsom and the legislature over the next several months to provide all students with equal access to a quality public education that is focused on the needs of each individual student.

CTA represents 310,000 educators and school personnel throughout California.

Loretta Whitson

California Association of School Counselors

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s continued commitment to meeting the vast needs of California’s children and youth through strengthening California’s K-12 education system and by continued funding to address long-overdue gaps in providing the programs and services children need to thrive and succeed in a complex world. Especially:

  • Funds to close the equity gap by ensuring that the Univerity of California and California State University campuses are affordable and provide more opportunities for California’s youth.
  • Preparing, educating and employing a diverse workforce takes time, and the budget provides a good first step in that direction.
  • Strengthening college and career pathways at the high school level including a multipronged approach to advance students from high school to college and career.  Research indicates that high school students are more likely to pursue post-secondary education if they engage in training that interests them. This is needed, and I cannot think of a timelier provision that will help California students during this time of Covid.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

A strategic investment in school- and community-based mental health services began with the 2021 budget. The 2021 budget, mentioned student mental health 13 times and had a separate section for it.  It also allocated significant, mostly one-time funds to address the issue. This year‘s 2022 budget only mentioned it twice with no specific allocations. California can do better. For years, school mental health has been underfunded. California school-based mental health professionals have some of the highest caseloads in the nation. This means school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists often have twice or three times as many students on their caseload as compared to the rest of the country.  There is a need for sustainable funding to ensure that services are provided on school campuses where most students receive mental health support when needed. Please see the American Civil Liberties Union on the State of Student Wellness, 2021, to understand the disparities that still exist.

Loretta Whitson is executive director of the California Association of School Counselors, a nonprofit advocacy and membership association representing over 12,000 school counselors working in California’s Pre-K-12 grade schools.

Jason Willis


What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The Budget Act of 2021 set a strong foundation to advance recovery for students from the pandemic with substantial and equitable one-time investments to initiatives such as extended learning opportunities, community schools, educator workforce, and children and youth behavioral supports. This budget proposal stays focused on these efforts by providing some additional resources to accelerate implementation of these critical initiatives.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

Attention to the economic and funding volatility of California’s public resources should not be forgotten. California has experienced a much needed increase of investment for children and youth services including public education. The attention to shoring up reserves and addressing future funding liabilities (such as pensions) should get a second look. The upward and downward swings for the state are predictable and state decision makers should plan accordingly.

Jason Willis is the Director for Strategic Resource Planning & Implementation at WestEd, a research and technical assistance organization based in San Francisco.

Kevin McCarty

California Assembly, education finance subcommittee chair

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

We did a lot of multiyear funding in the last budget including billions for student mental health, community schools and federal aid for learning recovery. This new budget goes bigger, allocating even more money for after-school programs and universal transitional kindergarten implementation for approximately 56,000 kids. The pandemic has had a big effect on students’ mental health, and we have to start providing services that can help them. Additionally, providing funding for early education access will help parents who were hit financially due to the pandemic and unable to pay college tuition-like prices for quality education for their children.

What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?

I believe there should have been a more robust teacher career pipeline to deal with pandemic burnout, ongoing support for community schools and student mental health infrastructure. Additionally, finding a way to continue investing in programs benefiting from one-time investments. These one-time investments are still only one-time and that can prevent those programs from continuing their work, helping Californians.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District and serves as the Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

L.K. Monroe

CCSESA President and Alameda County Superintendent of Schools

What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?

The last two years have brought unimaginable challenges that have stressed the capacity of our public schools in ways none of us have ever experienced.

Yet through this singular moment in time comes a unique opportunity to redefine public education in our state and how we can better position ourselves as educators, moving forward to serve the whole child, and every child.

The governor’s proposed budget for 2022 builds on the historic investments in the public education system in recent years and provides critical and consistent investment in our most precious resource: our students.

This budget proposes the highest-ever per-pupil funding allocation as well as ongoing funding for existing core programs like the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), special education, universal pre-kindergarten, universal school meals, and expanded learning through after-school and summer programs for all students.

It provides our educational leaders with the necessary funding to give every student the best opportunity for a high-quality education while addressing the systemic inequities that create barriers to their success.

There is no better time than now to re-imagine how we educate our students, support them with wraparound services and advocate for all children.

L.K. Monroe is the Alameda County superintendent of schools and president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).

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